Soil Sisters Plant Nursery
835 Gearing Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15210
If growth starts with a seed, Pittsburgh has two sisters and plant fanatics to thank for the positive change being harvested in its community.
Soul Sisters Plant Nursery is located in Beltzhoover, the first of its kind to be owned and operated by Black women from the neighborhood.
Raynise Kelly, one half of the dynamic duo, says the idea for a plant nursery close to home was sparked by frustration at a local grocery store.
“I was having a hard time finding anything good,” said Kelly. “Everything was too big, or too hard, or too mushy and it caused me to see everything in a different light.”
The eye-opening experience reminded Kelly of special moments she’d spent as a child with her grandmother tending to their garden and preparing home-cooked meals. As a mother and Pittsburgh-native, Kelly felt a strong responsibility to her community and opened the Soul Sisters Plant Nursery with her sister TaRay to “address the needs of local communities that are lacking resources, knowledge, and accessibility to fresh produce and seedlings.”
Youth development is one of the many ways Soil Sisters Plant Nursery contributes to its community. Finding it important to teach younger generations about agriculture, the Kelly sisters started the Soil Sister Summer camp, a five-week long seasonal program catering to children ages six to nine and 10 to 13. Last year was the first installment and plans are being made to increase sessions for the 2021 summer.
Kelly hopes to encourage the children in her community to grow in ways they never thought possible.
“There’s power in your community and believing in yourself,” she said. “Our communities are changing and expanding; there’s so many different opportunities that are available to you right in your own neighborhood.”