VSU project aims to eradicate Petersburg’s food crisis

PETERSBURG, Va. (WRIC) — Right in the Petersburg Harding Street neighborhood stands the old Rec Center. The building has stood for decades, but now it will be undergoing a renovation for a  new purpose.

Virginia State University and Petersburg are transforming this place into an indoor farming facility. No soil will be used.

“The lights are a thousand watts a piece. In order for the plants to photosynthesize because we don’t have sufficient sunlight,” says Duron Chavis with Virginia State University. Chavis operates the Urban Agriculture Center.

Harding Street is in the middle of what’s called a food desert.

“One of the things that is problematic with this community, is there are literally no grocery stores within a mile or more of the Harding Street community center,” says Chavis.

If people don’t have access to fresh produce, their health could be impacted.

“You are at a higher prevalence for diabetes, obesity, hypertension, congestive heart failure,” says Chavis.

This new project will bring healthy food to those who need it the most. The vegetables will start to go up in two weeks and produce could be ready for sale in that community within six months.

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