By Rachel Ram
After moving to Sarasota four years ago, Paul Murphy’s vision to create a more sustainable future for not only Florida, but for the world, came alive.
His first step in this direction was volunteering with Transition Sarasota, an organization that believes in building sustainable communities from the bottom up. He helped with gleaning, organic farms and more, before finding FLFPC.
Raised catholic, Paul believes food is plentiful and all is already provided for us. However, because money came in between, lack of access and therefore food banks became necessary. However, Paul’s main goal it to bring back the Garden of Eden.
Food forests, community gardens, turning grass into gardens, and policies to implement native and edible planting only are among the initiatives Paul helped support and even install into county of Sarasota’s 2018 Comprehensive Plan. Paul’s activism doesn’t stop at plants, however. He is working with cleanups as well as keeping plastic from being manufactured, using biodegradable alternatives instead.
With 800 people moving to Florida a day, Paul emphasizes that we need to make a change. Our aqueducts are drying up, salt water is traveling inland at an alarming rate with nitrates coming through our drinking water. He says that at our current rate, we’ll need dehumidifiers due to water being so polluted if we don’t change. “It’s all about returning to nature. It’s a cycle, one slice of the pie. If not, greed will take over again. People will take advantage and continue”
Also a vegan, Paul believes you can’t be a true environmentalist unless you are. He says we need to start a movement, not just an organization.
You may be wondering- what can I do to get involved? His advice is:
- Go to city meetings
- Start comprehensive plan meetings in the other counties to implement policy for only nature and edible plants
- Join local organizations, such as Transition, Tropical Fruit Society or community gardens
If Paul can send home any single message, it’s to stop talking and actually take action. We need to be proactive toward healthy changes by planting the seeds for success.
In Paul’s words:
“I am sharing this because I feel it's critical for the next several generations, in our world with an ever-increasing population, that will have food and water issues.
"I started the Garden of Eden Project in Sarasota that begins by initiating food policy in each city and county plan for growing native plants as well as fruit and food trees instead of non-natives ornamentals.
"Imagine a world when we can walk around in our neighborhoods and cities picking fruits off trees for free. Free food for homeless people, lower income or poor people, as well as for everyone else who wants to partake in the fruits of our labor."