BELA Farms is being completely funded by the CEM Foundation (cem-foundation.com), a locally based 501c3 founded by ArdentX Logistics CEO Charles Miller. Miller is passionate about philanthropy and giving back to communities in need of a champion. “Growing up on a farm, we always had access to fresh fruits and veggies, and I think every kid should have the opportunity to grow something from seed to harvest. It creates a sense of pride and ownership among other things, and it’s a great honor to help fund this initiative,” says Miller.
Biscayne Elementary School recently held a ribbon cutting ceremony for their new community garden, BELA (Biscayne Elementary Leadership Academy) Farms. This is the first school on the Northside in the Duval County Public School System to have a farm on campus. The spacious one acre garden will include five raised beds, fruit trees, a tire garden and custom benches designed for storage and recreation.
BELA FARMS will provide students with the opportunity to learn about agriculture, planning, teamwork and giving back to community. The grounds and growth will student led, with all students able to participate during school and after school. The harvest produced garden will go back to the Biscayne community.
Local businesses and parent-volunteers were all onboard to participate in the ribbon cutting ceremony. Other partnerships for the event include Sprouts grocery store who will provide just over $1,000 worth of free seeds for students and their families. There will be free food, giveaways and raffle prizes to include, microscopes, laptops and more.
-R: Rachel Tutwiler Fourtune (President JPEF), Sanaa Mcbride, Biscayne Elementary Principal, Shakeya Lee (teacher) Tanya Reyes (teacher), Josh Woods, President CEM Foundation and Darryl Willie School Board Chair