City of St. Pete approves Allendale UMC as a space for vegetable gardens

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Allendale UMC just crossed a major hurdle yesterday as the City of St. Petersburg approved the the church as a space for vegetable gardens to help feed those most in need.

Some nieghbors within the Allendale community had been against the raised garden beds. Some argued they weren’t against the gardens themselves, but rather the appearance, while others felt it didn’t fit/gel with the character of the neighborhood.

Growing veggies for those most in need

On February 3,  Allendale UMC sought and received approval from the Development Review Commission for a special exception modification to add two raised garden beds on the property to grow vegetables.

The garden beds are 15’ x 10’7” and 45’ x 15’10” in size and located internally within the footprint of the existing Church campus and on the east side of the property along 11th Street North.

Andy Oliver took to Facebook to express gratitude and update the public:

“The City of St. Petersburg approved Allendale as a space for gardens so we can continue to grow food for people who are hungry! Thank you everyone who helped write letters and stayed the 8.5 hours to give public comment. We will now await the appeal process as we finish preparing our second garden for planting.

Inquire about volunteering at the garden

If you are interested in volunteering with the garden or would like to deliver the harvested veggies to food pantries, please private message us with your email and cell.” You can send those messages to Allendale UMC on Facebook.

Allendale UMC is located at 3803 Haines Road North.You can keep up with news of its garden on the Allendale UMC website.

This is one victory for the community as the city itself looks to address food security in Pinellas County.

St. Pete Food Policy Council

There are well over 100,000 Pinellas County residents who are food insecure, according to Feeding Tampa Bay.

The St. Petersburg City Council is now taking a proactive measure to deal with food insecurity, supporting a resolution last month to create a Food Policy Council. The Council was formed at the end of 2020.

The Food Policy Council works independently from the St. Pete City Council and is facilitated by the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg.

Food desert are another key concern for FPC organizers. Food deserts are areas that lack access to a grocery store with affordable and healthy food.

USF receives major grant for Urban Garden

USF’s St. Petersburg campus is one of only seven higher education institutions across the nation to receive a grant through the 2020 Ford College Community Challenge. A $25,000 grant from the Ford Motor Company Fund is going towards a project that will promote food security in South St. Petersburg by producing up to 150 pounds of fresh vegetables for the community each month.

The Fresh and Local Greenhouse Project could help address food inequality in South St. Pete, where access to affordable and nutritious food is limited. The initiative will engage around 30 college and high school students in agriculture and business development skills each semester.

The Fresh and Local Greenhouse will bring together community partners to develop an efficient and productive hydroponic growing system capable of producing a variety of fresh greens year round. The City of St. Petersburg, St. Pete Youth Farm, Sustainable Urban Agriculture Coalition(SUAC) and Daystar Life Center will join USF’s St. Petersburg campus in facilitating the project.

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Written by Andrew Harlan

Andrew Harlan is the Editor of ilovetheburg.com. Follow him on Twitter @harlanyoungII and Instagram @harlanyoung. Send tips and potential stories to info@ilovetheburg.com.