10 Local Urban Farms We Love
|New Abundance Farm | Caroline Yoo|
New Abundance Farm
(1515 Benton Street; 618-972-6793)
Mission: To empower people working on issues of food access and nutrition education, and to bring more fresh food into areas with fewer grocery stores
How it works: "We focus on the nonprofit side of farming, says owner Ann Johnson. "We focus on growing food specifically for food and nutrition classes, and partnering with people and organization focused on such issues, such as the Hope Build Foundation. We would like to be the farm that can donate vegetables to such programs."
Who's buying: Customers at North City Farmers Market; excess produce is donated to Operation Food Search's Cooking Matters class
Challenges: Finding the best way to ask for help, finding the most efficient ways to partner with people already working on the same issues
Favorite part: "My favorite part is meeting new people who I wouldn't have met otherwise, and meeting so many people who are incredibly knowledgeable about growing," says Johnson.
Future plans: Installing a solar-pumped rain barrel irrigation system, expanding produce production, selling to Crown Mart, Bob's Quality Mart and other local corner stores
Ezel Stone Urban Farm | Caroline Yoo
Ezel Stone Urban Farm
(7601 South Broadway)
Mission: To focus on urban agriculture and teach self-sufficiency
Sells: Lettuce, kale, rainbow chard, bok choi, collards, onions, tomatoes, radishes, leeks, eggplant, peppers, kohlrabi, okra, carrots
Who's buying: Customers at Cherokee Farmers Market, Local Harvest Grocery, Los Punk and Black Bear Bakery
Favorite part: "I enjoy introducing people to new varieties of produce, such as the three kinds of carrots I planted this year -- 'Amarillo Yellow,' 'Cosmic Purple' and 'Scarlet Nantes,'" says owner Thomas Hood.
Future plans: Expanding the farm and buyer market
Stinger Honey | Caroline Yoo
Mission: To supply bees for backyard garden and the local community to promote pollination and to sell honey locally
Sells: Honey, bee-pollen pellets (also gives away beautiful blue eggs from her Araucana chickens -- it's against Clayton ordinance to sell them)
Annual production: 1,200 pounds
How it works: Eight hives of bees on 1.5 acres
Who's buying: Winslow's Home, University Gardens, Starrs Liquor, Parker's Table, Jennifer's Pharmacy, Gateway Arch Gift Shop, Clayton Farmers Market, Mid Town Market, Straub's
Challenges: Collecting the honey
Favorite part: "I like explaining why this honey tastes different," says owner Joy Stinger. "The local linden trees impart a unique flavor of citrus and orange blossom."
Miranda Duschack and Karen "Mimo" Davis of Urban Buds: City Grown Flowers | Caroline Yoo
Urban Buds: City Grown Flowers
(4736 Tennessee Avenue; 573-999-6293)
Mission: To occupy a niche market in St. Louis by providing unusual, locally grown, organic, fresh flowers and to promote urban agriculture as a viable, self-sustaining business
Sells: Flowers like bleeding hearts, delphiniums or baptesia, and honey
Annual production: 35 buckets per week; 3,000 stems a week during peak season; 93 flower varieties on one acre
Who's buying: Customers at Tower Grove Farmers Market, local florists, selected events
Challenges: Securing capital, navigating city regulations and neighborhood policies, higher city taxes (that don't include rural farm subsidies)
Favorite part: "We enjoy doing something we love and waking up every morning and walking just a few feet into paradise," says owner Karen "Mimo" Davis. "We also value being recognized as an asset to a neighborhood by residents and local government alike."
Future plans: Increase sales and production; installation of a high tunnel to extend the growing season