Orlando urban garden shuts down after fights with the city

Infinite Zion Farms provided resources for Parramore community before closure

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – For several years, Infinite Zion Farms has operated as an urban garden in Orlando’s Parramore neighborhood. However, the property is now vacant.

Ray Warthen with Infinite Zion Farms said the organization helped educate and improve the health of residents.

“We were bringing in a multitude of diverse colleges into Parramore, where there are no other programs, no other resources. These kids get inspired seeing black and white honor students doing studies on their farm work,” Warthen said.

Areas of low-income neighborhoods without access to fresh fruits and vegetables are referred to as food deserts. Warthen said that with the farm’s closing, he fears it’s going to negatively impact the community.

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“There’s no produce anywhere. I went to each one of those stores from Anderson all the way down to Callahan, and I see kids walking out with Twisty treats. That’s all that’s there,” Warthen said.

Warthen said he closed the urban garden after several disputes with the city. This includes the removal of a portable toilet on the property, which he said the city eventually agreed to let stay on the property.

The city of Orlando provided the following statement to News 6 regarding the urban garden’s closure:

The City previously worked with Infinite Zion Farms to allow for the operation of an urban farm at this site. They recently made the decision to vacate the property. Our desire is to continue producing local food there at the site for the Parramore community. We are currently exploring options to continue that effort.

City of Orlando

Warthen said his next plans include creating a solar-powered farm to promote sustainability.

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About the Author:

Troy graduated from California State University Northridge with a Bachelor's Degree in Communication. He has reported on Mexican drug cartel violence on the El Paso/ Juarez border, nuclear testing facilities at the Idaho National Laboratory and severe Winter weather in Michigan.