Sweetwater Organic Community Farm

Swtwater Farms field$436,000 FCLF financing
Refinance and improvements
Organic farm with outreach and education for students and community members

"Thank you to the Florida Community Loan Fund for partnering with us to help preserve this farm forever. It is with your support and the support of the community that we will be able to continue to serve. The Eco-Campground in creation will allow us to host a variety of new experiences for the community to enjoy and put us on a path towards financial sustainability as well. We cannot say thank you enough – for your support and assistance, and for helping us through the process. See you on your farm!"  Chris Kenrick, Board President

Sweetwater Organic Community Farm is a nonprofit community-supported urban organic farm and environmental education center in Tampa. The organization’s mission is to build community through education, food accessibility, and by being a model of appropriate land stewardship and sustainable agricultural techniques.

Established in 1995, Sweetwater is Florida's oldest community supported agriculture farm. Located on 6 acres, the farm offers educational and food accessibility programs that help build the relationships, trust, and interdependence needed for strong communities. Programs include:

  • A Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) membership program
  • A weekly farmers’ market and music series
  • Educational field trips including farm tours
  • Training and apprenticeships on organic farming methods
  • Workshops, outdoor movies, seasonal events, and more.

In March 2019, Sweetwater had closed and was a week away from being sold to a developer. The community came together to save the farm, raising over $100,000 in loans and donations – the majority from individuals. With financing from Florida Community Loan Fund, Sweetwater Organic Community Farm will repay these loans and continue down the path of “Your Forever Farm.” This will happen when the farm doesn’t owe anyone any money, is in a community land trust, and has long-term sustainable revenue sources.

On-site apprenticeships and internships offer training in organic farming methods, and along with these programs there is a large interest from individuals in short-term residence on the farm. For this purpose, Sweetwater has buildings on the farm that provide overnight accommodations for program participants, and an on-site tiny cabin has been converted to an Airbnb. To meet the increasing demand for on-site stays, Sweetwater will also use the FCLF loan to develop an urban campground that will feature solar and other sustainable features, creating an agro-tourism / eco-tourism opportunity that does not currently exist in the area. Campers will be encouraged to volunteer, but not required. The campground will also provide space for conferences, retreats, weddings, and more; and will become an additional income source for the farm.

Sweetwater Organic Community Farm provides the freshest possible organic vegetables and herbs for hundreds of Tampa Bay residents each year. Sweetwater currently reaches over 7,000 students in a tri-county area. Expansion plans include increasing that number to 10,000 students, plus serving an additional 3,000 through workshops, classes, and dinners; and 5,000 at the farmers’ market.


Pictured above, a field of organic vegetables. Below, a day at the farmers' market.

Swtwater Farms market

Button View More


"We look forward to continuing our successful relationship with FCLF and working together to meet the needs of our communities." – Nancy Merolla, VP/CRA Officer

Florida Community Bank

"FCLF understands and is a part of what we are doing: helping families have the American dream of owning a home." – Isaac Simhon, Executive Director

Housing Programs, Inc.

“The partnership with FCLF is very exciting for us – an essential component in providing greater access to fresh healthy food in downtown New Port Richey.” – Jeff Wright, Owner

Wright's Natural Market

"FCLF shows a clear strategy and demonstrated evidence of addressing prevalent community needs." – J. Reymundo Ocañas, Director, Corp Responsibility

BBVA Compass

"FCLF has a keen knowledge of Florida challenges & opportunities. We are confident our investment will be used to improve lives." – Kathleen Rizzo Young, Sr. VP, Community Development


"FCLF has proven its community impact and hard work. We are proud to partner with FCLF." – Leslie Watson, Analyst, Community Investments

Dignity Health

"We appreciate how the work of FCLF primarily benefits low- to moderate-income individuals and areas and supports the needs of our community." – Maria J. Thompson, Community Development Manager

Third Federal Savings

"FCLF was instrumental in making this important project a reality, bringing us one step closer to ending chronic homelessness in Miami-Dade County." – Dr. Paul A. Ahr, President & CEO

Camillus House

"I appreciate FCLF for lending in rural areas, where many other lenders are exiting. From the first moment we spoke with FCLF staff, we felt we had a partner." – Jamie Kerr, President, AMCS Dev.

Griffin Heights

"FCLF is a difference maker! Their team provides solutions to bring about real change in a community." – Tim Marks, President & CEO

Metropolitan Ministries

"We appreciate the accomplishments your organization attains." - Robert Sucher, Executive VP

Sabadell United Bank

"Without FCLF's support, we would not have been able to deliver the services our area so desperately needs. We look forward to a lifetime relationship." – Tom Griffin, CEO

The Transition House, Inc.

"Thanks to FCLF, we are one step closer to providing a permanent housing solution for veterans and others seeking quality housing at an affordable price." – Carrie Davis, Executive Director

Wealth Watchers

"Our relationship with FCLF provides the capital to achieve long-lasting impact." – Terri Murray, Exec Dir

Neighborhood Renaissance

"BankUnited understands the challenges facing our communities; we applaud FCLF's efforts. Thank you for making our community a better place to live." – Katrina Wright, VP Comm. Dev.


"The Fathers Table Foundation appreciates the services FCLF provides and the impact on the communities you serve. We believe in your organization and your mission." – Dan Gilardi, President

Fathers Table Foundation

"FCLF plays a significant role in sustaining vibrant and thriving communities. We are pleased to support your ongoing community based efforts." – Ernie Diaz, South Florida Market President

TD Charitable Foundation

"We consider FCLF a valued partner and strong advocates for low-income communities and families. We look forward to many more years of working together." – Jennifer Westerbeck, Vice President

US Bancorp CDC

"Cade Museum is proud to be partners with FCLF and JPMorgan Chase. Thanks to the NMTC Program, we will provide a transformative asset to our community." – Jennifer Denault, COO

Cade Museum for Creativity & Inventi…

"FCLF staff shares our vision and commitment to serve needy families and provide a high quality education to all children." – Thomas Cole, Founder

Emma Jewel Charter Academy

Core Purpose FCLF exists to maximize opportunities for people and places outside of the economic mainstream.
Our Vision Opportunity and dignity exist for every person and community in Florida.
Our Mission Our expertise and capital make projects successful and help organizations improve lives and communities.