The Florida man is a member of several Treasure Coast neighborhood Facebook groups, such as Fort Pierce Connection — which has more than 19,000 members — and many gardening groups.

FORT PIERCE — Corey Paul often stands in the backyard of his childhood home, envisioning a "food forest."

He dreams of growing pineapples, tomatoes and cayenne peppers, lettuce, mangoes and mustard greens. "Everything you can imagine," he said.

Paul wants the fruits of his labor to feed not only his family but his neighbors, too.

"You need something to eat? C'mon, I got you."

For Paul, aka "Goo," gardening started off as a hobby 18 months ago. Now, growing food is his passion, a passion he wants to share with the community, especially young people.

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It's important that children know they can pursue their dreams, as long as they're constructive and meaningful, he said.

"There's plenty of things you can get involved in, especially around here in my area, but in your own backyard, you can do anything you want to do," Paul said. "Just make sure that path is positive."

Paul's first love is fishing, but once the 35-year-old became a father, he wanted to spend more time at home with his six children.

"Out of the blue, I started a garden," said Paul, a procurement clerk with the Fort Pierce Housing Authority.

With collard green transplants from Nelson Family Farms in Fort Pierce, a few books, YouTube tutorials and a lot of love, he started digging.

"After that, it just took off," Paul said.

Today, collard greens — with leaves bigger than your head — mustard greens and tomatoes fill a raised bed in the middle of the backyard, and onions, lettuce, bell and cayenne peppers and more tomatoes fill several pots. Everything is grown organically.

Paul's children recognize his dedication to the garden, and they help plant seeds and water and harvest food right alongside him.

The city of Fort Pierce has taken notice, too. Several people have asked Paul if he'd like to help create gardening projects geared toward children.

Paul's green thumb has had big impacts on social media, too.

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"Gardening with GOO" is Paul's fan page on Facebook and Instagram, where he shares photographs of his harvested vegetables as well as funny memes about himself in the garden. He writes music and raps about what he grows, too.

He's also a member of several Treasure Coast neighborhood Facebook groups, such as Fort Pierce Connection — which has more than 19,000 members — and many gardening groups.

He's become somewhat of a local celebrity.

Earlier this year, a fan posted a photograph of Paul, holding a giant collard-green leaf, to Reddit, a user-generated social news aggregation site. Users can "vote up" or "vote down" content, similar to a "like" on other social media platforms.

When Paul first saw the Reddit post, it had 7,000 up-votes. A few minutes later, it had jumped to more than 15,000. Today, there are more than 25,800 up-votes and 600 comments, all positive.

A gentleman in one of my neighborhood groups frequently posts pictures of his gardening. This is him with one of his organic collard greens. from r/pics

"There was nothing but love," Paul said. "It inspired me to keep going. People love to spread negativity, but when they see something positive coming from a guy who looks, maybe a little different, it's like, 'I want to get into what you're doing.' "

Paul now shares advice with budding gardeners all over the world, he said.

"When you think about gardening, it's just, 'Oh, it's so boring,'" he said. "I bring a different kind of energy to (gardening), and they love it. I appreciate the love I get back and the support. It's keeping me going to reach not only the kids but people of all ages, all races."

Follow Gardening with GOO on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

This story originally published to, and was shared to other Florida newspapers in the new Gannett Media network.