Civics Lab

civics labLooking for a way to be engaged with issues concerning Manatee County? Civics Lab is a bimonthly event, bringing the community together to start dialogs and create awareness. 

Civics Lab: Growing Food in Your Community
Thursday, May 27th, 12:00-1:00 p.m.

With Mack Lessig, Community Gardens Program Assistant
UF/ IFAS Extension, Manatee County

Mindy Hanak, Community and School Gardens Coordinator
UF/IFAS Extension, Sarasota County & Sustainability 

Learn about the benefits of community and home gardens, considerations before starting one, and how you can engage in garden projects in the community. A short presentation will be followed by discussion and questions from participants. 

Email [email protected] for more information and to register!

The Benefits of Buying Local

Civics Lab- Sustainable Citizenship Series
The Benefits of Buying Local with Andrea Knies of Realize Bradenton

Watch this conversation about how buying local through small businesses and the Farmers Market stimulates Manatee County’s economy.

Covid-19: Where Are We Now?

civics lab
Civics Labs offer information and discussion on various community issues and civic engagement.

Learn more about past topics below, and visit our events calendar to check for our upcoming discussions.

Civics Labs are scheduled every 2 months, stay tuned for our upcoming series starting in 2021!

Email [email protected] for more information.


What is the purpose of a primary election? What other elections are scheduled for Manatee County voters this year? What are the options to cast your ballot?

For this discussion, we will be joined by Michael Bennett, Manatee County Supervisor of Elections - where he will give a brief presentation, followed by time for questions and answers.


For this discussion, we will be joined by Luther Wilkins, Communications Chairperson of the Manatee NAACP - where he will give a brief presentation, followed by time for questions and answers.

The impacts of COVID-19 are seen everywhere, including education. Luther will talk about his firsthand experience being the father of a child enrolled in Manatee County's virtual school program, including e-learning challenges facing parents of color.

Adults with Disabilities

Civics Lab will focus on Talking About Americans with Disabilities: 30 Years of the ADA.

Panelists include:
Lee Washington- Manatee County Veterans Services Officer: Will be talking about disabled Veterans and resources for them.

Carmine DeMilio- Manatee County ADA Compliance Coordinator: Will be talking about ADA transitions and improvements the for County facilities.

Terri Simon- Hearing Impaired Resident: Will be talking (and signing) about living with her disability.

Caitlin O’Brien- Southeastern Guide Dogs Trainer: Will be talking about how her organization helps people nationwide live easier with their disabilities.