Midtown150 is a production of the University of South Florida’s Neighborhood News Bureau, an advanced reporting journalism class.
In the podcast, NNB student-reporters explore current and relevant topics through a historical lens through the memories of the local residents of south St. Petersburg – an area known as Midtown.
The history podcast was created to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the arrival of Anna Germain and John Dodson, the first black settlers, to St. Petersburg.
“Past Plates” is Midtown150’s pilot episode and tells the stories of Midtown’s relationships with food. Initially a rural area with plenty of pepper farms and fruit trees, Midtown has more recently become a food desert, an area with limited or no access to affordable fresh produce and food items, especially with the closing of the only grocery store in the neighborhood – the Walmart at Tangerine Plaza.
“Past Plates” looks into people’s memories and traditions related to food, food culture and food business in south St. Petersburg. NNB students explored the tradition of food in church events; the disappearing mango trees that once were abundant in Midtown; the economic impact of the mullet - a cheap and common local fish; local restaurants that have stood the test of time and how local chefs pass the knowledge and training of cooking from one generation to the next.
The pilot episode of Midtown150, “Past Plates” was edited and narrated by NNB graduate assistant Tyler Gillespie.
Tyler Gillespie is a graduate student journalist attending the University of South Florida St. Petersburg’s Journalism and Mass Communications Department. This story was produced as part of the Neighborhood News Bureau class taught by Bernardo Motta in Spring 2017.