An effort in St. Petersburg that trains young people to grow food got a big boost recently.
The University of South Florida’s St. Petersburg campus won a $25,000 grant from the Ford Motor Company’s College Community Challenge. They plan to use the money to build a hydroponic growing system in South St. Pete, an area without many fresh and local food options.
Their model is different from a traditional community farm because they’ll be growing their food indoors, without soil, year round. The hope is to provide up to 150 pounds of fresh vegetable to the neighborhood each month, while teaching skills in agriculture and business to 30 college and high school students.
“Many of the main food options in South St. Petersburg are fast food or corner stores with packaged goods” said Winnie Mulamba, sustainability planner for USF’s St. Petersburg campus, in a press release. “Increased affordable and accessible fresh food options could be a game changer. Not only will the greenhouse provide nutritious food options to a community in need, it will help educate local students on skills to build careers in business and food systems.”
USF St. Petersburg is partnering with St. Pete Youth Farm on the greenhouse. The City of St. Petersburg, Sustainable Urban Agriculture Coalition (SUAC) and Daystar Life Center are also involved in facilitating the project.
The greenhouse is scheduled to open next summer.