Pictured Above: Carla Bristol and members of the Youth Farm pictured with the Proclamation.
Courtesy of the St. Pete Youth Farm on Instagram
By Andrew Quinlan
The St. Pete Youth Farm has been working diligently to promote healthy living and youth involvement in its community, including a spirited celebration of Earth Day on April 22.
The farm, which was founded in 2019, has become a fixture in the region in its two years of establishment.
Their urban farm project’s mission is to provide access to nutritious food to citizens of the south St. Petersburg area. They also hope to encourage young urban students to think creatively and grow as individuals, while learning important life skills in a variety of areas, such as agricultural knowledge and financial literacy.
Each week, members of the youth farm meet to learn and practice a number of topics, including planting and harvesting, communication and teamwork, artistic self-expression, resume building and job readiness and mental health and mindfulness.
“It’s been a really great experience working with the Youth Farm,” Youth ambassador, Anaya Graham, said. “In such a short time, and through a lot of obstacles, like the pandemic, we’ve managed to make a really big impact on our community. I’m really proud of the work we’ve done and look forward to build upon it as we keep growing.”
Carla Bristol, the manager of the St. Pete Youth Farm, had a clear intention when she helped pioneer the group in 2019. She wanted to put younger people in a leadership position. She describes the program as 40% agriculture based, and 60% youth development.
“I look at it like, every young person that we touch, they then touch other people” Bristol told a University of South Florida St. Petersburg class in a January guest speaking event. “If we put our rich investment into each of the young people that we are touching, that’s part of the long-term strategy for building community… so that they are creating what they want the future to look like, and we’re just merely guides.”
One of the biggest events for the farm so far in 2021 was their Earth Week Celebration in April. The group set up events over four days during Earth Week to promote a healthier environment.
They hosted a free workshop on April 21 at the farm on eating healthy with a vegan diet, and on April 22, Erica Hall spoke to listeners both at the farm and online about the intersections of community, food, and the environment, and how to grow a healthier planet together.
Hall is the Chair of the Florida Food Policy Council. On April 24, the council hosted a community workday and market, which included a Gadgets for Good drop-off. Their hard work was recognized that week, when they were presented with an Earth Day Proclamation from Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried.
Over the last two years, the St. Pete Urban Youth Farm has done a remarkable amount of work to help both the present and the future of their region. They are certainly a group to look out for as they continue to grow.