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In the previous Plant-Based Synergies article, we focused on the 4-year partnership between the Square Foot Gardening Foundation (SFGF) and PlantPure Communities (PPC). Today we would like to highlight the story of a gardening project undertaken by PPC Pod Leader Elizabeth Fiorentino Williams.

Located in North Carolina, Elizabeth has been co-leading the Chapel Hill Plant-Based Nutrition Pod since 2017 with her sister, Deanna Smith. In 2021, Elizabeth jumped at the opportunity to participate in the gardening initiative offered through the PPC and SFGF collaboration (as described in part 1), and successfully created multiple Square Foot Gardening beds with her family. Elizabeth shared details about her experience creating this garden, the materials that enabled her success, and the increased accessibility offered through utilizing the Square Foot Gardening (SFG) Method. 

After the March 2021 Gardening Webinar hosted by PPC and SFGF, Elizabeth enrolled in PPC’s free “Grow Your Own” gardening course to learn how to get started. Elizabeth went on to enroll in SFGF’s Level 1 & 2 Certified Instructor courses, which enabled Elizabeth to teach the SFG Method to others. Upon completion of the courses, Elizabeth experimented with the new SFG Method to improve her 91-year-old father’s backyard garden. He was able to help Elizabeth build their new gardening beds, which included two 4’x6’ beds, one 4’x4’ raised bed, plus two 4’x4’ elevated boxes. 

During the 2021 gardening season, together they grew zucchini, yellow squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, radishes, and eggplant. With some extra space in one gardening bed, they added flowers and additional eggplant. Elizabeth’s dad fell in love with gardening again, and was very pleased that he was able to tend to the gardens himself (the elevated beds are perfect for people with less mobility!). After a successful gardening season, he was able to freeze a lot of his produce to use during the winter months. As a bonus, they were even able to plant winter crops leading up to the winter of 2021, before preparing the boxes for 2022.

Reflecting on her first experience with the SFG Method, Elizabeth commented that she “loved the detail and printables” from both the free Square Foot Gardening course and level 1 & 2 SFGF courses. With her certification, she taught her whole family about the SFG Method, and her sister Deanna began flipping her existing gardening beds into SFG beds. Elizabeth shared that the materials and knowledge gained from the Square Foot Gardening collaboration has “changed how our family grows!”

We’re grateful to hear how this knowledge has enriched the lives of Elizabeth, Deanna, and their father, and thank them for sharing how they’ve incorporated the SFG Method into their plant-based lifestyles so that others may feel inspired to do the same. We wish everyone great gardening success in 2022! 


Opportunity to get involved: In the first quarter of 2022, PlantPure Communities will be offering a mini-grant opportunity to all Pod Leaders in the network to support their efforts in creating a Pod, community, or personal Square Foot Garden. If you would like to join our Pod network and be considered to receive some funding for a SFG project, click here to start a Pod and you will be eligible to apply for the mini-grant.

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