Caitlyn Keller, Forest Lake Academy (FLA) junior, met with a team of AdventHealth executives, FLA administration, and Florida Conference representatives to commemorate the groundbreaking of her community project, Alive Gardens, on December 6.
Also in attendance were fellow students in the Innovation Lab program. This magnet program is incorporated into several Florida Conference schools, most notably FLA. Members of the Innovation Lab program work through personalized courses based around their passions. Keller, interested in helping those who face food scarcity in the community, decided to start a garden so that she would have food available for those in need.
“Through my research on healthy eating,” says Keller, “I discovered a great need in Apopka and surrounding communities who are food insecure. This need is right here, locally, and I want to do my part by focusing on a topic that I am passionate about, and that is healthy food. I am so pleased that we have begun.”
The service began with the reading of Isaiah 58:10 by Keller herself: “Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness and the darkness around you will be as bright as the noon.” Keller explained that she hopes to share her light and passion for healthy eating with the community around her as her gardens grow on campus.
For the second year in a row, the Alive Gardens initiative has partnered with Taylor Apartments in order to provide low-income residents with a sustainable source of accessible vegetables. The expansion of this initiative would mean greater access to healthy foods in areas previously many miles from nearby grocery stores.
Rob Deininger, CEO of AdventHealth’s Quaternary Hub, expressed his support and willingness to partner in further Innovation Lab endeavors. Representatives from the Florida Conference Office of Education also congratulated Keller on her project and willingness to assist the community around her.
The event fueled excitement, pride, and hope in both Innovation Lab students and the representatives involved, excitement and pride for the student whose dreams have just now been made a success, and hope for the possibility of a future of compassion through Innovation.
Florida | March 2022