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Healthy Harvest Farms to hold benefit run Saturday

August 29, 2018
By MEGHAN McCOY ( , Lehigh Acres Citizen

Join Heathy Harvest Community Farms this weekend for the last Summer of Fit Festival of the year, complete with a 5K run/walk dedicated to the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation and F.I.S.H.

Virginia Lesko, director of marketing, sales and events, said during the summer months when not much is growing on the farm, they hold a Fit Series on the first Saturday of the month June through September.

"Nine months out of the year we are completely growing and harvesting," she said.

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Joe Pearson, founder and CEO of Healthy Harvest Farms, surrounded by kids.


The fourth Summer of Fit Festival, Tropical Labor Day Weekend Extravaganza, will be held Saturday, Sept. 1, at Healthy Harvest Community Farms, 670 Milwaukee Blvd. The event starts at 7 a.m. with registration for the 5K, followed by an 8 a.m. kickoff for the run/walk.

Lesko said a portion of the proceeds from the 5K will be donated to Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation.

"We are supporting another charity with the Clean Water Act," Lesko said.

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Lesko said they are also asking people to donate canned food for the F.I.S.H. of Sanibel-Captiva Food Pantry, a human service organization on Sanibel.

"We want to help them by bringing can food to their pantry," she said.

Registration is $10 a person and can be done online at, or the day of the event.

Last month's 5K was dedicated to Officer Adam Jobbers-Miller, which attracted about 60 participants.

"Everybody is welcome. It doesn't matter what your fitness level is," Lesko said. "It's a walk, run. We have moms pushing strollers and people with their pets. Anything on wheels is allowed."

Healthy Harvest Community Farms, is a 5-acre farm on a golf course.

"We map out the 5K on the nonactive golf course that is maintained. The owner of the golf course is a conservationist. It is a preserve. It's an absolutely beautiful property," Lesko said.

The 5K begins at the relaxation station and then continues to the golf course.

Following the 5K, a free family event will be held until 10 p.m.

The event will include fresh complimentary breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as fitness and cooking classes, raffles, live music, games, arts and crafts as well as a giant slip 'n slide. Attendees will also have an opportunity to win a custom rod and reel.

As far as entertainment, James Prather kicks off the event at 9 a.m. Other bands throughout the day include Hip Squad and Bad Latitude.

"We have a full stage on a hill on the golf course that overlooks the farm," Lesko said.

Healthy Harvest Community Farms is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that grows food and donates it to food banks across Southwest Florida and beyond.

"We actually get a lot of food donated to us and then we donate it to the food banks. We are a hub for food coming in and going out to feed the needy," Lesko said.

Students from Bishop Verot High School recently visited the farm to help plant produce for the winter months. She said they have such crops as blueberries, tomatoes, squash, cucumbers and peas.

"Anything you can think of we are growing," Lesko said.

Since March, Healthy Harvest Community Farm has distributed 7,000 pounds of food.

"We are expanding," she said. "We are going to be growing double of what we normally do."

In addition to growing fruits and vegetables, the organization also offers such programs as field trips, Farm Fit, private tours and opportunities for individuals to rent space for private properties.

"It appears that very few people understand where their food is coming from, or what is in it," Joe Pearson, founder and CEO of Healthy Harvest Farms, said in a prepared statement. "With obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes on the rise, our goal is to reintroduce to the community the notion of homegrown food, what it looks like, how it is grown, and how to incorporate it into diets in order to live a healthier life. We proudly donate food grown on HHCF to Food Banks in SWFL and beyond."

To register or for more information, contact Lesko at (239) 738-1327 or visit



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