Synopsis: Jabari Lee, accelerated student of civil and environmental engineering, discusses his passion for plants, sustainable ecological solutions to urban challenges, and how he has found great success in his academic and research endeavors.

“One thing I realized… it’s a lot easier to destroy things, to cut down plants, than it is to grow them.” – Jabari Lee

Hey everyone! Welcome to episode 9 of The Modern-Day Superhero show! I’m excited to introduce you to one of my best friends, Jabari Lee, in this episode. Jabari is a senior at Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) and is majoring in both civil and environmental engineering. He is president of The National Society of Black Engineers at FGCU, service learning coordinator at FGCU’s food forest, and works as a computational tools teaching assistant for the FGCU college of engineering. He has conducted research for the U.A. Whitaker College of Engineering at FGCU, for New Mexico State University’s urban water infrastructure program, for the environmental engineering department at the University of South Florida, and has presented his research on the topic of using electrocoagulation to remove phosphorous from surface and wastewater at both the Florida Water Resources Conference and at the 2016 Ecosummit in France.

Jabari is truly an incredible human being; the dude loves plants, and has spent the past 10 years or so intently studying and growing them in order to create a healthy, sustainable life for himself, his family, his university, and community. He radiates positivity and is truly a pleasure to interact with; I’m excited for y’all to get to listen to him in this episode as he discusses how he cultivated hundreds of native plants at his home in urban Miami, why he is so passionate about plants and sharing them with others, what motivates him to study incredibly difficult subjects day and night, and much more.


• How Jabari came to be so passionate about plants – 2:00
• What is ecological engineering? – 5:05
• How Jabari’s mom helped him cultivate a love of plants – 7:00
• Growing vegetables in urban settings to reduce cost of living and improve quality of life – 8:50
• How to learn how to grow plants, even in urban Miami – 10:22
• How to grow edible plants for yourself and family – 15:40
• What drives Jabari to study so intently and pursue his purpose & passions – 19:50
• Safety considerations & precautions to take when growing edible plants in urban settings – 22:00
• How to overcome challenges in life with the support of community and friends – 23:56

Books Mentioned

Organizations Mentioned

Growing Power
Urban Farming Guys
Florida Native Plant Society
Society for Ecological Restoration
Eden Project
Institute for Regional Conservation (IRC)


LinkedIn: Jabari Lee


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