How St. Pete Youth Farm Got Started
In 2017, a grocery store in the Midtown community in South St. Pete shut down. This would be the second grocery store to close down in 4 years.
To this day, there has been no grocery store to take its place, and this sparked a series of discussions on how to address this food and nutrition insecurity issue that the community was facing.
One idea that came to the forefront was to start a youth-led urban farm, putting this issue in the hands of the young people within the community and turning 6 empty lots (0.83 acres) owned by the City of St. Petersburg into a farm.
A place where people can access locally grown produce, learn to grow their own food, and also provide programming to teens that would promote youth development through leadership skills, entrepreneurship, urban agriculture, and wellness.
Thanks to the City of St. Petersburg, the Pinellas Education Foundation, and the Foundation for a Healthy St. Pete, the idea was made a reality. In 2019, the pilot program for the Youth Farm was established, along with hiring a Collaboration Manager to implement it.
Fifteen high school-aged students were hired that Summer and many of those same youth would solidify the foundations of the program and work on this project over the next 2 years. To date, the St. Pete Youth Farm has had 100+ youth in the community hired through the program. There is so much to be proud of among the various successes in these short 4.5 years!
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