PETERSBURG – In an effort to help teach children the importance of sustainable food and proper diet, the Edible Peace Patch Project is starting a new partnership with Sanderlin Elementary School to plant a student assisted garden at the school. A ribbon cutting ceremony that is open to the public will take place at the school on Saturday, January 21 at 9 a.m.
“We are very excited about the potential this project has to bring the concepts of sustainable urban gardening to kids living in the less affluent side of St. Petersburg,” said Kip Curtis, assistant professor of environmental studies at Eckerd College. “Students will help grow the food that will be used by the schools and by those in need. It also gives the community the amazing opportunity to come together to volunteer their time with this important project.”
The Edible Peace Patch Project uses sustainable urban agriculture and healthy eating as the core activity in an effort to build social capital on the south side of St. Petersburg and forge a new kind of community. In partnership with Pinellas County Schools, the Florida Department of Agriculture and public and private institutions, the project works with at-risk youth, the homeless and local volunteers to develop a working community and school supported urban farm, schoolyard vegetable gardens and a sustainable food culinary training program. Farmed food is used by the schools, in wellness kitchens and by local non-profits that help feed the poor.
After the ribbon cutting ceremony, volunteers and students will begin work on the project using the Hugelkultur method of gardening, an innovative and successful form of urban farming. Using this system, gardens are built on top of a raised beds filled with rotten wood. As the years pass, the deep soil of the raised garden bed becomes incredibly rich and loaded with soil life, self-tilling air pockets and require no irrigation.
Since January 2009, the Edible Peace Patch Project has been developing innovative food systems and nutrition educational programs at Lakewood Elementary School, Eckerd College and in the Pinellas County community. The Peace Patch hopes to expand to other area schools and to provide food for schools and the surrounding community through an urban farm located in the city’s Southside/Midtown region. To find out more information or to get involved, visit www.peacepatch.org.