Content starts here


AARP AARP States Florida

AARP Volunteers Help Seed and Feed Tampa Community

Volunteers harvest vegetables in Vista Gardens
AARP Florida

A community garden can help a new neighborhood take root, bolster an existing one, and serve as an important shared asset. In the greater Tampa area, AARP staff and volunteers recently rolled up their sleeves and harvested nearly 10lbs of vegetables from the Vista Gardens, a 3.31-acre community garden and park located in Carrollwood Village.  

The gardens, once an abandoned water treatment facility, were “harvested” in 2008 by the Carrollwood Village Homeowner’s Association and since have blossomed into more than 70 raised cedar beds, filled with a variety of organic fruits and vegetables, a compost area, picnic area, and a tranquil pond.  

In its continued effort to support and uplift the community, AARP Florida sponsors two garden beds, both of which produce a staggering average yield of 660 pounds each season, all of which is donated to the Village Presbyterian Church in Carrollwood, a proud partner of Feeding Tampa Bay. 

Ron Conradt, an AARP volunteer from North Florida, has been volunteering with Vista Gardens for more than a year. “I grew up on a farm in Wisconsin, and we always had a large vegetable garden. I have a love of gardening, and being able to combine my enjoyment of gardening with social interaction and satisfaction of helping others is what motivates me,” Conradt said. “I like knowing that my efforts help provide nutritious food to someone in need, and I like to envision people enjoying the fresh produce from our gardens.” 

Susan Weiskopf, a new volunteer from Carrollwood Village, states, “I volunteer at the garden because I love to plant seeds and watch them grow. I always hope to see a lot of vegetables donated to the food bank.” 

“Community gardens can improve the health of residents, foster economic development, combat social isolation and relieve food insecurity,” said Amy Matovina, Sr. Program Specialist at AARP Florida. “Community gardens that are well-designed and effectively managed support access to inclusive and equitable public spaces for people of all ages, abilities, races, cultures and incomes.” 

Conradt is eager to continue his work and encourages others to get involved as well. “I hope we continue to expand the number of beds and AARP volunteers,” he said.  

If you’re interested in volunteering at Vista Gardens with AARP Tampa Bay, or other volunteer opportunities, please email us at or visit us here.

About AARP Florida
Contact information and more from your state office. Learn what we are doing to champion social change and help you live your best life.