By Ivanyliz Rodriguez and Anna Gilbert-Muhammad

This article is the second part of our feature on the visit by Springfield Youth Agricultural Scientists from NOFA/Mass’s Food Access project to Bami Farms in Johnston, Rhode Island. Read part one here.

The stevia plant grows well in well-drained beds or large containers, and the leaves can be dried or used fresh to sweeten teas or other foods.

Bami Farms Executive Director, Julius Kolawole, in his tour of the community gardens and farm in Providence, explained that the garden was established to provide food to neighbors that could not easily access fresh, healthy food. The garden also serves as a wonderful meeting place for neighbors to talk about neighborhood doings, share recipes and build community. The garden is in a small lot in Providence and is filled with raised beds and a hoop house. Each bed is 4’ x 8’ and they contain many wonderful vegetables such as summer squash, melons and tomatoes. Julius gifted a Stevia plant for the Tapley Garden to the youth, which now joins the other growing food in a raised garden. 

The African Alliance sells vegetables at the Armory farmers market. Photo credit:

After the tour of the community garden, Julius wrapped up the Youth’s tour at a local health market. The market is the site for the Pop-Up Market where the farmers from Bami Farms participate. Several farmers bring the produce that they grow to sell at the market. But the market is not just a place to purchase favorite fruits and vegetables from Bami Farmers; it also serves as a community information center, health center, a dance party (there is a local DJ that comes out with the latest music and dance tunes) and prepared food from local restaurants.  (The chickpea sample was amazing!)    

As the Youth assisted with setup for the market, Julius shared that the Pop-Up Market serves as a vital meeting space for community members to touch base and connect. The Youth Agricultural Scientists were able to connect with the farmers from Bami, Julius, and the greater community during their time there – great and inspirational connections all around.