ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — K. Nikkol Patton was tired of driving miles and miles for fresh fruit and vegetables.
Her neighbors in south St. Pete were tired of it, too.
So the former police officer started the South St. Pete Marketplace. The new open-air hub allows the community to buy locally sourced produce and support small businesses.
"Everyone who lives here knows that this is basically a food desert," says Nikkol. "I personally live in this area and I've searched for fresh vegetables."
Finding healthy food options in south St. Pete, especially within a short driving distance or that can be walked or biked to, has long been an issue.
"Especially for the African-American community," says Nikkol. "This is an imperative."
In the shadows of the historic Manhattan Casino, the South St. Pete Marketplace also provides a sense of community, supporting local jewelers, food trucks, vendors and musicians.
The South St. Pete Marketplace is open Tuesday evenings from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Nikkol says she hopes the space will eventually expand to dozens of vendors.