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Ochs Garden

Chester Ochs 4-H Educational Center

Vision and Mission

Vision

To be the premier urban agriculture education center in the Tampa Bay region.

Mission

The mission of the Ochs Garden is to provide fun, innovative urban agriculture education to Tampa Bay residents of all ages, backgrounds, and cultures while fostering a community built on teamwork, trust, and integrity.  This mission is accomplished due to a partnership between the UF/IFAS Pinellas County 4-H Youth Development Program and UF/IFAS Pinellas County Master Gardener Program and others by offering training, research, and other programming.

Background

On June 19, 1991 the property was turned over to the citizens of Pinellas County and called “The Chester Ochs 4-H Educational Center” and the Chester Ochs Park, in keeping with Chester Ochs’ request to have his property become an official county park three years from his death.  The buildings of the Chester Ochs 4-H Center were originally the living residence of Chester Ochs and a small retail shop of his citrus grove. These were converted to meeting and storage areas.  The land was his citrus grove and apiary.  The 4-H Educational Center has been exclusively used by Pinellas County 4-H and Extension, while the park is open to the public with trails and dog walks.

The Chester Ochs 4-H Center has been an active and critical portion of the UF/IFAS Pinellas County Extension office since that time. The center has provided countless youth and 4-H volunteers an opportunity to teach and experience activities from archery to agriculture over the past twenty-seven years.  The primary focus for the center has been youth gardening, as it is one of the last large plots of land in the area and to honor the center's histroy in agriculture.  Day camps, overnight camps, and many clubs have met here since it's donation.  Many residents and 4-H alumni and volunteers have fond memories of the center, with new memories being made to this day, as the center retains it's mission to teach the youth residents of Pinellas County vital skills for their futures.

Current Uses

The Chester Ochs 4-H Educational Center is currently the home of the 4-H and Master Gardeners' Garden, a community garden, and the 4-H Archery Clubs.  The 4-H garden hopes to be able to open back up in the spring.  Please email abowers@pinellascounty.org if interested in joining the garden club when we can meet again safely. 

Community Garden for 2020-2021

  • Who: Open to all Pinellas County residents interested in gardening
    • Limited to a max of 10 8x8 ft plots 
  • What: An intergenerational community garden at the Chester Ochs 4-H Educational Center. All garden plot proceeds go to benefit the Chester Ochs 4-H garden, youth, and club.
  • When: We are currently on hold of opening the garden due to COVID-19.  We hope to be able to open the community garden in the fall, but things are subject to change.  We will notify everyone interested of any dates and news.
  • Where: Chester Ochs 4-H Educational Center, 14644 113th Ave N, Largo, FL 33774
  • Why: To provide a community gardening space for the benefit of Pinellas County residents to have access to fresh food, recreation, and educational opportunities as well as to teach youth important life skills such as responsibility, science competencies, teamwork, gardening, and many more.
  • How: Community gardeners will pay a fee for the use of the plot for the full year of planting seasons (excludes summer)
    • Cost needed per plot:
      • 8x8: $30
  • Ochs Community Garden Rules 2020-21

More details or to register for the community garden plot email Alyssa Bowers at abowers@pinellascounty.org to be put on the list of interested gardeners.

Ochs Vegetable harvest 

If you are interested in becoming a community garden member, joining the garden club, or becoming a 4-H volunteer, please email the agent at abowers@pinellascounty.org or aslavin1@ufl.edu or call 727-582-2597.

Meet your 4-H Agent

Alyssa Bowers

4-H Youth Development
UF/IFAS Extension
Pinellas County
12520 Ulmerton Rd
Largo, FL 33774
Phone (727) 582-2597
abowers@pinellascounty.org

Volunteer Program Assistant

Sandy Hernandez

4-H Volunteer Program Assistant
UF/IFAS Extension
Pinellas County
12520 Ulmerton Rd
Largo, FL 33774
Phone (727) 582-2672
Se Habla Español
shernandez2@pinellascounty.org 

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