NewsPinellas County


St. Pete Youth Farm gets game-changing greenhouse to help fight food insecurity

Greenhouse built thanks to grant money from USFSP, Ford Motor Co.
St. Pete Youth Farm
Posted at 5:43 AM, Jul 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-18 07:45:26-04

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Brianna Chambers is changing the world, one head of lettuce at a time.

The 15-year-old sophomore at Gibbs High School is a rising star at the St. Pete Youth Farm, a volunteer- and donation-based success story fighting food insecurity in South St. Petersburg.

Chambers likes working in the farm's brand-new state-of-the-art greenhouse, built via grant money from USFSP and the Ford Motor Company.

The greenhouse features both hydroponics and aquaponics and allows the nonprofit to grow hundreds of heads of lettuce at one time, getting more food out into the community.

"Oh, I know a lot about fish and lettuce now," laughed Chambers, who is on the front lines of feeding her neighbors. "It feels really good to help."

The farm started as a humble garden tended by high-school-age volunteers.

But in a short amount of time, thanks to visionary leader Carla Bristol, it's become a national model of success, drawing the attention of colleges and car companies and welcoming volunteers of all ages.

"We will never ask anyone for a penny for food," said Bristol. She invites everyone, no matter who they are, to simply visit the farm, and take in the energy.

And if you'd like to volunteer your time or money, "we'll figure out how you can help together," she said.

As well as feeding the community, composting scraps and raising bees, the remarkable farm has also become a hub of positive community activity, including hosting mental health classes.

For volunteering opportunities and more at the St. Pete Youth Farm, click here.