Urban farms create opportunity (and food!) for those in the community

The 15th Street Farm in St. Petersburg, Florida, on November 18, 2021. (Jeremy Allen)

You’ve probably thought of growing your own little garden in your backyard (or maybe you already have), but what happens when that garden becomes more than just a fun side project -- and ends up helping the community around you?

Just take a look at the 15th Street Farm in St. Petersburg, Florida, as an example.

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Emmanuel Roux, founder of 15th Street Farm, explained to us and some of the St. Pete Timebankers that the purpose of the farm is to “offset the nature-deficit of people who live in the city, to show them where the food comes from.”

Roux’s slice of land is just west of downtown St. Petersburg. It feels like a different world than the surrounding neighborhood, and gives a real sense of agriculture.

“A farm is really a community asset. It is a place where people come and work on the farm, but also socialize. It also has a therapeutic effect. It has many benefits,” Roux said.

Roux’s farm and the time bank work together in many different ways. Some people will come and get seedlings from him for their own farms, while others will put time in at the farm in exchange for vegetables they can take home and eat.

“We let them determine the value of the time that they exchange. And once we have cooking classes and tours, people will be able to use the time bank to fill out some dinners,” Roux said.

A lot of people who show up to the 15th Street Farm have no farming or gardening experience whatsoever, but that is kind of the point of the time bank. People are learning new skills that they can take with them throughout life. Plus, Roux likes to teach people his tricks of the trade.

Jacob, the dog, brings Emmanuel Roux, Founder of 15th Street Farm, his hat at 15th Street Farm in St. Petersburg, Florida, on November 18, 2021. (Jeremy Allen)

“To see somebody getting inspired by what we’re doing here and taking it where they live is very gratifying, because growing vegetables is a lot more than just growing food,” Roux said.

For Roux and company, this is a sanctuary of giving.

It’s a place where a lot more than just food grows.

“Sharing the bounty, sharing something that you have grown, where you have invested your time and efforts is, and having somebody appreciate it is, to me, very valuable,” Roux said. “It’s very satisfying.”

About the Authors

Jack is a Digital Content Editor with a degree in creative writing and French from Western Michigan University. He specializes in writing about movies, food and the latest TV shows.

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