Under the guidance of Crea Egan-Romanelli, volunteers gave time and money to plant several Florida-specific fruit and nut trees along the new sidewalk in Clymer Park in Gulfport. The trees planted on Thursday include sapodilla, macadamia nut, guava, avocado and several more, bringing the number of Florida-specific trees in the city up to 50.
The project, says Egan-Romanelli, represented a larger movement– a movement about going green, but ultimately, about world peace.
“When we stop and become conscious of our food choices, we become conscious of the power we have to create peace,” said Egan-Romanelli. “If the earth is depleted and barren, so are we.” Egan-Romanelli, explains that this program is being broadened with the help of Seva Art Source, a global art initiative that is a funding center for “sane living and non-violent social activism,” according to their website.
Volunteers brought various talents and resources to the planting. Nic Weathersbee, of St. Petersburg, helped with digging and planting. Weathersbee owns a company called Urban Microfarms which, he explained, gives free consultations on where to put raised garden beds, as well as teaching people to eat organically and avoid genetically modified organisms.
Paul Ray and his partner Wesley Sloat (aka this year’s Gecko Queen) also volunteered. Ray suggested installing a barbed-wire fence around the Macadamia Nut trees – not for squirrels, but for people. Kelly Russel brought her two-year-old son, Otis, along. Otis acted as the group’s cheerleader, shaking his maracas and encouraging volunteers.
At last, Egan-Romanelli hung a sign read: “Eat; Be; Grow; Sustain.” She described the different steps, saying, “We might be eating, we will be being, we will definitely be growing, and will eventually be sustaining.”
Egan-Romanelli thanked all who provided financial support and sponsored a tree, adding that she believes it will be everyone’s job to maintain the new trees. If you drive by and notice the trees are looking unhealthy, she said, stop by and give them some water.