The St. Petersburg University Campus and St. Pete Youth Farm have unveiled a new greenhouse that will provide the community with fresh vegetables and fish while giving students the opportunity to learn about sustainable and innovative farming methods.
The new greenhouse will boost urban agriculture and help tackle food inequality in southern Saint Petersburg, where access to affordable and nutritious food is limited. The structure will allow both hydroponics and hydroponics and help college and high school students develop their knowledge of food production and build business skills.
“Through this greenhouse project, I hope we can promote hands-on learning for sustainable food production, especially in urban areas,” said Winnie Mulamba, a sustainability planner on the St. “It will also provide easy access to fresh and local vegetables at affordable prices to our community, foster creativity among our youth and attract supportive partnerships from various organizations and businesses within and outside the province.”
Located in the state’s most densely populated district, Saint Petersburg has a limited amount of land available for food production and a higher percentage of food insecure people than the national average. More than 190,000 people in Pinellas County are food insecure, according to the nonprofit Feeding Tampa Bay.
The greenhouse is currently growing a variety of lettuce and pepper. Tomatoes and herbs will be added. All of which will complement the many fruits and vegetables grown outside on the youth farm. Blue and red tilapia are also raised inside the greenhouse, their waste being used as fertilizer to grow some of the vegetables inside.
Besides providing food, this urban farming initiative will teach students about different farming techniques and entrepreneurship. The majority of the products will be sold through a youth-led social enterprise led by St Pete Youth Farm and the St Petersburg University St Petersburg Campus, with proceeds going back to support the greenhouse and farm. The remaining products will be delivered to local charitable centers.
“We thought we were set up to provide only food but it is so much more. We grow young and grow food at the same time,” said Carla Bristol, Collaboration Director at St Pete Youth Farm. “This greenhouse will allow us to grow year-round, growing in A pest-free environment, teaching young people a variety of methods, and technology used, to grow for the breadth of knowledge and opportunity.”
The new, local Green House was made possible by a $25,000 grant from the Ford Motor Company Fund in 2020. The Saint Petersburg campus at Saint Petersburg University was one of seven institutions of higher learning across the country to receive a grant through the Ford College Community Challenge Challenge that year. Support additional funding from alumni of the St. Petersburg Campus of the University of St. Petersburg and grants indoor greenhouse and hydroponics system and hydroponics within it.
“The Ford Fund is proud to be able to support a new, local Green House project through the Ford College Community Challenge Scholarship. The opening of the greenhouse is a true testament to the hard work of students and the local community, said Mike Schmidt, director of economic mobility and global community development at Ford Motor Company Fund.
The greenhouse unveiling coincided with a Juneteenth celebration at St Pete’s Youth Farm, which featured students and community members working on the farm, African drums, food, and other festivities. Located outside the Enoch D. Davis Center in southern Saint Petersburg, St. House Youth Farm is an urban farm and youth development program where young people develop important life skills as they learn about growing their own food, driving and financial literacy. .