Corey “Goo” Paul loves gardening. He credits his father, a Haitian native who relocated to the Sunshine State in the 1980s, for his green thumb. “Gardening and living off the land were all he knew,” Paul explains. “It was in his blood, so it’s in mine too.”
Growing up on the Treasure Coast, he fondly recalls fishing with his father, who taught him to transform the remains of their catch into fertilizer for the fruits and leafy vegetables in their garden. Paul still composts with fish but has added kitchen and yard scraps to his gardening efforts as well.
As his cultivating abilities grew, so did his fan base. At the Fort Pierce Housing Authority, where Paul has been employed for 17 years and currently serves as a Section 8 housing inspector, he often shares the fruits of his labors with colleagues who request his homegrown collard greens and San Marzano tomatoes. He is also imparting his gardening wisdom to his eight children, who help care for the raised beds behind the family home in Fort Pierce. “Every household should have a garden,” says Paul. “Besides putting food on the table, it’s therapeutic and teaches patience.”
To broaden his reach, Paul became a presence on social media, where he posts entertaining (and often hilarious) videos about gardening and sustainable living on YouTube, TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram. In the videos, which he shoots in his home garden, he shares advice on topics ranging from planting, growing, and harvesting to preparing produce that is nourishing and stretches the budget—and he makes it fun.
With an infectious smile, Paul raps about the benefits of growing your own food with lyrics like:“If you grow your own food, how could you lose, you dig? Put them seeds in the ground, yo, then I watch them grow….”
Young people are enamored with Paul and his positive messages about living sustainably. Since launching “Gardening with Goo” in 2019, the YouTube channel has amassed nearly 25,000 subscribers; on TikTok, he has nearly 300,000 followers, and his videos have accumulated around 2 million likes to date. “Kids get so excited when I show them how easy it is to plant things like Swiss chard and collard greens,” Paul says. “Even if you’re not partial to vegetables, growing something from seed makes it taste more delicious because it was raised with love.”
Paul notes that gardening promotes not only positivity but also a sense of pride in kids, while doing something fun. Locally, he tries to share his passion with as many kids as possible—on Fridays, he volunteers at White City Elementary School in Fort Pierce, where he and Port St. Lucie’s Families of the Treasure Coast erected a community garden this past January for the schoolchildren to enjoy.