Earth Watch: St. Pete Eco Village

“We want to make it affordable for people and nature to thrive,” said Jamie McWade Co-Director of the St Pete Eco Village.

It started with a hidden farm and garden.

“We have taken a vacant lot and turned it into a food oasis in the middle of Downtown St. Pete,” said Emmanuel Roux Founder/Director Farm at the St Pete Eco Village.

For the past seven years it educates and feeds the Tampa Bay community. Volunteers come out twice a week.

“We teach them. Harvesting. Watering. Watering is an art. It brings people together. It's a community building place,” explained Roux.

For some it’s about trying something new.

“Marigolds are a natural pest control,” said Roux.

Just footsteps away from the farm will soon be upgraded energy efficient housing.

“These building are one hundred and something years old. Taking them to this next level for sustainable living is quite a chore. One of the buildings is the Green House. It will have solar panels. Everything in that house will be natural,” said McWade.

The St. Pete Eco-Village is a place people come to live for at least three months and learn how to have a more sustainable lifestyle.

“Getting outside, closing the nature deficit disorder all the way down to creating eco-friendly cleaning products. As people come to visit with us, to live with us, and to volunteer with us it sort of reshapes itself,” explained McWade.

The non-profit will house 75 people.

“This lot here has been slotted for our tiny houses,” she said.

With future funding and grants there will be an educational center too.

“Eventually we'd like to open it up to our community,” said McWade.

“We want it to be a place where like-minded people learn something that reconnects them to nature,” said Roux.