I recently read Farm City: The Education of An Urban Farmer by Novella Carpenter. Ammmaaaaazing! Check out the New York Times Book Review. In sum, the memoir is about a woman who begins by doing some squat gardening on a vacant lot in “the ghetto” next to her apartment. Ultimately she ends up raising her own food and making charcuterie of her pigs, Big Boy and Little Girl. The book spans several years and takes place in Oakland CA. Entertaining and educational, it discusses food security and the importance of knowing where your food comes from.
Of course the memoir got me thinking about community gardens and the possibilities of vacant lots in St. Louis. The food security movement is taking hold here and St. Louis has many resources for urban farms and community gardens. Below are just a few pictures from around my neighborhood.
Tower Grove East has a prolific community garden. I know it doesn’t look like much now, but in the Spring Summer and Fall this is one of the most beautiful corners in the neighborhood. Want to live here?
The same goes for Fox Park Farm. Located at the corner of Russell and California, this space is glorious when in bloom and there always seems to be someone from the neighborhood out there working. Check these home sale listings if you want to know more about housing in the Fox Park neighborhood.
City Seeds is another enterprise altogether. It’s mission is to foster self-sufficiency in addicted and chronically mentally ill homeless; increase production and distribution of locally grown fresh food for low-income residents, and provide nutrition and food preparation/preservation programs.
As I mentioned above, there are ample opportunities to farm in the city. But there might just be one more coming soon. Check out the photo below. This is a vacant lot at the corner of Minnesota and Arsenal across from the old Bavarian Inn. It is currently owned by a notable St. Louis developer, who taking a cue from the benevolent lot owner in Carpenter’s book, has offered to let neighborhood folks start planting. This blog post is in fact a bit of a fishing expedition to see if there are people out there who would be interested in the opportunity to take on a raised bed or two. There would be no charge to garden, you would be welcome to all your own produce and the owner is even considering providing the raised beds.
Please let me know what you think…..