Urban farm serving Orlando’s Parramore community forced to close

For almost four years, Infinite Zion Farms in the heart of Orlando’s Parramore community has been Raymond Warthen’s labor of love, but not anymore.


Warthen says he’s having to close his urban farm and feels he’s been bullied by the city.

With the help of grant money, the urban farm moved from Apopka with the goal of providing locally-grown fresh fruits and vegetables in a neighborhood that has been identified as a food desert.

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“Last year, we provided over 7,000 meals to the Parramore community, and over 6,000 pounds of nutritious produce,” Warthen said.

Parramore residents have taken notice of Warthen’s efforts.

“He’s doing great work in this community,” one resident said. “He’s feeding people for free.”

Though the land where the farm sits technically belongs to the city, Warthen says most of the operating costs come out of his own pocket and he’s felt pressured by the local government.

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“I am standing here by myself,” Warthen said. “I never felt 100-percent support from the city.”

He says they forced him to remove a portable restroom from the property and gave him a hard time when he tried to set up dollar panels. Then, there was a dispute over his lease agreement.

Warthen says he initiated an annual lease for the property- paying the City of Orlando one dollar a year-and was put on a month-to-month lease last year on a special permit.

In a statement, city officials told Channel 9 that the decision to vacate the space was made by the owner. As of today, the city has no future development plans for the land.

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A City of Orlando spokesperson said they’re currently exploring options to continue producing local food at the site, but they’ll have to start from scratch as Wharten is removing everything from the property.

“With the permitting stuff we’ve been through, I can’t do it,” Warthen said.

As for Infinite Zion Farm, Warthen says he’s in the process of moving everything to Groveland where he is already in talks with city officials to start a new urban farm.

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