If you like garden like we do, we have great news. We have taken HEART.  They have plants to make for a wonderful edible landscape. In our opinion, the HEART Village is a must-see.
   Ditto if you are a central Floridian and are looking to become self sustaining. They have food crops galore. And – the by-products frp, their crops make everything from fertilizer to building materials.
   We found this to be a place that has a sense of humor and a sense of purpose.

What is HEART

   The acronym HEART actually stands for “Hunger Education And Resource Training.” It is a facility located in a wooded area behind Warner University south of Lake Wales.  It actually is designed for young men and women who are headed into the mission fields in South America, Africa and Asia. Here they gain a knowledge of how to grow crops in challenging environments.
  We have visited another such facility, ECHO Farms in Fort Myers. Like ECHO,  we found those at HEART Village are learning how to grow vitamin-rich crops in tropical environments.  Much to our delight, many of those crops also will grow in the sub-tropics of central Florida.
  At their recent “garden celebration,” we found the staff eager to share their best management practices. Moreover, they demonstrated how to grow both plants and small animals. Best of all, they do it at a fraction of the cost using all natural ingredients.

What We Learned

   One thing we were taught is how to make natural fertilizer,  It is all about compost. We take piles of leftovers such as kitchen scraps, leaves, grass cuttings, downed leaves and trimmed branches.  All of that can be used to make some of the best growing soil around with a minimum of work.

  Additionally, we learned about Companion planting and other techniques. These are employed to maximize harvests while minimizing bugs and other destructive varmints.
    They told us that some plants not normally grown here-  such as the Moringa tree, the Katuk and Cranberry Hibiscus have edible leaves that are rich in nutrients and taste.
   When we found out that they also can be used as landscape plants – we added them to ours. They really do add to the attractiveness of our home. Plus, they provide a garden at the same time.
    This is a great boon for those who wish to be self-sufficient. Even if we need  to operate under the thumb of a Home Owners Association or other such regulating group.

The Open House

  The HEART Village’s garden celebration, featured numerous seminars and garden tours. That being said, private tours also may be established. We sat in on some of the seminars and took the tour. We learned a lot!
  At the HEART Village there also is a wonderful little plant nursery. There we found starter plants. Our options included 0- bur were not limited to –  Jackfruit, Mangoes, Papaya and other such fruit and vegetable plants. They all were  started without chemical fertilizers or other such things.
Gardener Josh shows how to use surplus tires as planters.

They even have a non-hot habenaro pepper.

How They Run

  It truly is amazing to watch how the staff has repurposed everything from old concrete blocks and tires, to bamboo and other plants grown on the property for use as containers, borders or animal pens and shelters. Yes, they have goats, chicken, fish, pigs and even a water buffalo.
   Those who follow us know we like the interesting and we like to save money. We suggest this is a great place to go. You can research it here http://heartvillage.org/
   If you want to make an appointment you also can call at 863-638-1188.