By Tatiana Ortiz

Former Marine and Owner Matthew Harper from Florida Urban Organics maintains a chemical free and bio-organic farm in Riverview. The farm has a community partner in Starbucks and has recycled over 600 pounds of coffee grounds. Harper strives to educate the community and share his insights on the benefits of growing chemical free and bio-organic crops. Along with that, visitors have the opportunity to grab a bucket and pick their own fruits and vegetables.

“Our whole point of existing out here is to grow the most nutrient dense food for the consumer without any chemicals,” said Harper.

Florida Urban Organics had its grand opening in January of this year. The property was purchased sometime during the middle of summer 2015 and the land needed some work. The three-acre lot consists of strawberry, blueberry and tomato plants. The farm has a high tech irrigation system, which is controlled by a smartphone. Harper plans on expanding his farm with other fruits and vegetables such as leafy greens, sweet potatoes, fruit trees and much more.

“I am really excited to be growing organic crops,” said Harper.

Visitors can come on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. to pick their own crops. The prices for u-pick vary. For example, strawberries are $5/lb., blueberries $6/lb. and tomatoes $3/lb. The pre-picked strawberries are $6/lb. Florida Urban Organics also sells a variety of pasture raised eggs from King Family MiniFarm in Riverview.

Florida Urban Organics is in the process of becoming a non-profit farm. The farm is seeking support from the community, volunteers, interns and other farming partners. Florida Urban Organics has reached out to local high school’s agriculture department and the Future Farmers of America organization.

For information about Florida Urban Organics, visit flurbanorganics.com or check out the Facebook page www.facebook.com/flurbanorganics. The farm is located at 11010 Riverview Dr. in Riverview. Hours of operation are Wednesday and Saturday 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. Call 279-8849.

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Tatiana Ortiz
Tatiana Ortiz is a freelance writer with the Osprey Observer Newspaper. She began as an intern here in 2010 and has been writing since. Tatiana graduated from the University of South Florida in 2015. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications with a concentration in Public Relations. In her free time, Tatiana enjoys photography, biking and being with her family.