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HomeAt Home & BeyondLocal Planting Seeds of Education Fundraiser

Local Planting Seeds of Education Fundraiser

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Hernando philanthropist and businesswoman April Johnson-Spence seeks to help grow the minds and futures of children in this area by way of a fundraiser that will grace one lucky winner with a flourishing, bountiful new garden bed for the springtime.

The Planting Seeds of Education fundraiser runs now through April 23. “I am raising money for the Hernando County Education Foundation and decided to do a chance drawing for an installed raised garden bed with all the fixings,” April Johnson-Spence said. “I will come to meet with the winner, and we will plan what you want to grow and design your raised bed garden space. I will personally install it to your liking. It will include all the soil, plants, fertilizer, and any required supports.”

It is the mission of the Hernando Education Foundation, a nonprofit organization, to create partnerships that advance student achievement and promote excellence within Hernando County. The Hernando County Education Foundation (HCEF) provided more than $150,000 in student scholarships, more than $250,000 in classroom grants, and more than $400,000 in classroom supplies during the 2022–2023 fiscal year. The foundation draws its resources from business and community donations, partnerships with state funding, and its own fundraising efforts.

Only 100 tickets are available for this raffle, with the winner being drawn live on April 30th on Facebook. To get your tickets, visit https://tinyurl.com/4fsuyvrv.

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Aside from being a noted community leader, Johnson-Spence is the executive director/CEO of the non-profit Hernando County Homesteading, Inc., which provides education and awareness regarding growing skills toward self-sufficiency and sustainability in our homes. These practices include gardening, food preservation, lowering consumption and waste, protection, and more.

“When the Hernando Education Foundation approached me and asked me to support their fundraising goals for their annual campaign, I was delighted,” she said. “Supporting local community partners with a track record of providing large contributions to the teachers and students in our community, how could I turn them down?”

Johnson-Spence has always been a loyal partner and supporter of the Hernando education system. “I have partnered with the school system to provide fun activities to students regarding homesteading skills,” she said. “Most recently, I wrote a children’s book called ‘Homesteading for Children’ because fostering creativity and empowering youth is a priority. With such a robust 4H in some of our schools, I thought the theme of gardening and growing food fit well.”

Soon, one philanthropic concept ‘grew’ to ‘give bloom’ to another. “So, I devised a fundraising idea called ‘Planting Seeds for Education’ using the Hernando County Homesteading Mission,” she said. “I am offering a 4-foot raised bed garden installed with rich garden soil, plants, and everything they need to start growing food.”

Through this and other projects, Johnson-Spence hopes to promote the concept of homesteading on a large scale. “Homesteading has become more than just a trend; it is a way of life for the over 2300 residents in our Facebook group, Hernando County Homesteading, where we share tips and tricks for creating a positive environment of peer support and growth for families,” she explained. “For a $10 donation per chance, participants can register to win this starter garden and support education at the same time. I will draw a winner live on the Hernando County Homesteading Facebook page on April 30th.”

All proceeds support teachers and students through the Hernando County Education Foundation.

Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey is a features journalist and author who is the winner of Florida Press Association honors and a certificate of appreciation from LINCS (Family Support Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention Task Force) and Sunrise Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center for her newspaper coverage of these issues. She graduated cum laude from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., with a journalism major and English/sociology minor, and previously wrote for publications that include the Pasco editions of The Tampa Tribune and Tampa Bay Times. A native of Indiana, she lives in Florida.
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