Sunday, June 24, 2018
Deals & Shopping

Urban farm could be late addition to Tampa's Encore project

TAMPA — If all goes as planned at a meeting with the Tampa Housing Authority on Jan. 4, a 2-acre working farm will become a late addition to the city’s Encore project.

The 40-acre mixed-use redevelopment district being erected downtown close to the intersections of Interstates 4 and 275 has brimmed with ambitious components, including apartments, condos, retail, restaurants, hotels and services. But this brings something vital that continues to elude many big-city urban renewal projects: access to local, organic and affordable produce, meats and dairy.

The Encore project hasn’t been without its challenges — as recently as May the housing authority fired Berkley Surety Group and Tron Construction for problems and slow work — but this new farm component brings together luminaries in the local small farm movement. Travis Malloy is one of the founders of TrailBale Farm in Temple Terrace, which specializes in organically fed, sensibly raised, pastured meat and eggs. Joseph Dalessio and Kristin Beauvois run Waldenponics, an organic farm in Lutz offering seasonal produce.

They lucked into it, says Malloy of what they will call Meacham Urban Farm.

"The Housing Authority has had it in the plans to put in an urban farm with the Encore build-out and no one submitted a proposal. We heard about it from a friend of a friend, that they were looking for an established farmer. I’m not a produce farmer. I’m a meat and egg guy. But I knew Joe and Kristen."

For Malloy, who founded the Temple Terrace Farmers Market and won that Chamber of Commerce’s Citizen of the Year award this year, it’s important that this project provides a good working example of a for-profit urban farm. And because the land is owned by the Hillsborough County School Board, there will be a huge education component as well.

Through certified-organic, bio-intensive growing practices, Malloy estimates the farm will gross $327,000 annually from produce sales, with not-insignificant startup costs of $366,000 for land development, infrastructure and the first year’s running costs.

Assuming final details are ironed out at the Jan. 4 meeting — the farmers want 50 chickens as part of the project, but the city is not yet convinced — ground will be cleared in January, and planting will begin in August with a first harvest in mid September. The farm plans entail 93 in-ground permanent beds between four plots and two greenhouses.

Dalessio will function as head farmer, Beauvois is in charge of marketing and farmstand sales and Malloy will head the educational component and side projects like composting.

"For the Encore residents, this will mean they are no longer in a food desert, with fresh produce right there," Malloy says. "And there will be work shares so that if it’s financially out of reach, residents can come in and work for an hour and get fresh produce. We will also bring in products from other farms so it will become a centralized hub two minutes off the interstate."

The long-term vision for Meacham Urban Farm is that it becomes a hub in the Tampa Bay agriculture and food community. With it, Malloy and the team envision chefs and community members finding farms and farmers finding engaged buyers, a growing trend in metro areas around the country.

Contact Laura Reiley at [email protected] or (727) 892-2293. Follow @lreiley.

Comments
Shop with Pride this weekend

Shop with Pride this weekend

WEAR THE RAINBOW: SHOP WITH PRIDEHaven't got a stitch to wear to St. Pete Pride this weekend? Local artist and designer Chad Mize has you covered, literally. Each year, he makes new T-shirt designs for Pride, and he's back at it again with four new o...
Published: 06/21/18
Plan your weekend: St. Pete Pride, Hall and Oates, Pixies, Logic, comics Jay Pharoah and Bobby Bones

Plan your weekend: St. Pete Pride, Hall and Oates, Pixies, Logic, comics Jay Pharoah and Bobby Bones

Rainbow connection Pride weekend: One of the largest Pride celebration in the Southeast happens this weekend in St. Petersburg, bringing a rainbow of activities. Things set off on Friday with the free SP2 Concert at North Straub Park, hosted by Coc...
Published: 06/20/18
Updated: 06/21/18
5 things to do under $5: USF Summer Plant Festival, Bridal Show, free show by AnastasiaMax

5 things to do under $5: USF Summer Plant Festival, Bridal Show, free show by AnastasiaMax

1 Summer Plant Festival: If you think you canít get anything to thrive in Floridaís brutal summers, check out the vendors with fruit trees and advice on how to grow them, along with hundreds of blooming butterfly plants, herbs and tropical and exotic...
Published: 06/20/18
Fatherís Day events for every Dad

Fatherís Day events for every Dad

FATHER'S DAY: TAKE DAD OUTSo maybe shopping isn't high on the list of things you'd think to do with Dad for Father's Day, but I'm not suggesting dragging him around the mall. There are quite a few cool events this weekend that Dad can enjoy, and you ...
Published: 06/14/18
Things to do this weekend: Fatherís Day, Maroon 5, The Illusionists, Mr. Rogers film, fireworks at Busch Gardens

Things to do this weekend: Fatherís Day, Maroon 5, The Illusionists, Mr. Rogers film, fireworks at Busch Gardens

HolidayFatherís Day: Sunday brings us a day to honor the guy who cheered us on, called us down and blamed us for his bald spot. Itís Fatherís Day! A number of local attractions are offering free admission for dads if at least one ungrateful progeny t...
Published: 06/14/18
5 things to do under $5: Dive-In Movies, Studio@620 birthday party, 71-cent burgers at Hard Rock

5 things to do under $5: Dive-In Movies, [email protected] birthday party, 71-cent burgers at Hard Rock

1Happy Birthday [email protected]: The community artists’ collective is celebrating its 14th birthday Saturday, with a free party at the perfectly timed 6:20 p.m. The little studio in downtown St. Petersburg puts on an array of art shows, concerts and...
Published: 06/13/18
Busch Gardens brings back fireworks, free Adventure Island pass with Fun Card

Busch Gardens brings back fireworks, free Adventure Island pass with Fun Card

Back "by popular demand" Busch Gardens has announced the Tampa theme park will once again have a fireworks on weekends this summer, and the park also brought back its deal that gets you a free pass to Adventure Island water park with the purchase of ...
Published: 06/12/18
Hereís what the

Hereís what the "b" stands for in IHObís new (and temporary) name

Thatís it, International House of Pancakes? Thatís the best you can do? You announce last week that you are mysteriously changing your name from IHOP to IHOb, and every pancake eater in the land gets busy. Sample coy tweet: "Dear Internet, we abbreci...
Published: 06/11/18
Updated: 06/12/18
Fila collaborates with Burn Rubber sneaker boutique and shop Safety Harbor this weekend

Fila collaborates with Burn Rubber sneaker boutique and shop Safety Harbor this weekend

YBOR'S GOT SOLE: BURN RUBBER X FILABurn Rubber is a sneaker boutique in Ybor City that opened last October. The shop is the second location for the decade-old Detroit-based brand. Tampa resident Omar Ghanem, originally from Detroit, had been a suppor...
Updated one month ago
5 things to do under $5: Free golfing for kids, $5 admission at Imagine Museum

5 things to do under $5: Free golfing for kids, $5 admission at Imagine Museum

1 $5 Thursdays: The new Imagine Museum is offering $5 admission on Thursdays from 5-8 p.m. through June 28. The museum is dedicated to glass art, especially studio glass, a fairly recent movement in the scope of glass art, with pieces that take a pag...
Updated one month ago