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Thursday, July 31, 2014

10 Local Urban Farms We Love

Posted By on Thu, Jul 31, 2014 at 11:00 AM

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click to enlarge OUR CITY FARMS' INDIGO ROSE TOMATO OR "BLUE TOMATO" | CAROLINE YOO
  • Our City Farms' Indigo Rose Tomato or "blue tomato" | Caroline Yoo

Our City Farm (4539 Delmar Boulevard; 314-282-5290) Mission: To grow where customers live, foster a close relationship with the food people eat and the people that produce it, and provide food security for the community Sells: Heirloom, non-GMO certified and naturally grown produce; eggs from heritage breed hens; pasture-raised, antibiotic- and hormone-free chicken Founded: 2010 Annual production: 8,000+ pounds Who's buying: CSA members that live within 15 miles of the farm, local restaurants, small stores Challenges: Cost of installing water for irrigation, cost of installing a security fence Favorite part: "Our favorite part is when our customers come to the farm and ask questions about the way things grow or bring their children to see firsthand where their food comes from," says owner Jeri Villarreal. Future plans: Year-round growing with a new hydroponic greenhouse; beehives; orchard expansion

click to enlarge EARTHDANCE FARMS | CAROLINE YOO
  • EarthDance Farms | Caroline Yoo

EarthDance Organic Farm School (233 South Dade Avenue, Ferguson; 314-521-1006) Mission: To sustainably grow food, farmers, and community, one small farm at a time through hands-on education about the importance of organic agriculture, and to preserve the site of Missouri's oldest organic farm Founded: 2008 Annual production: 18,000 pounds How it works: Five-month long farm and garden apprenticeships, classes and workshops open the public, tours and volunteer opportunities Who's buying: More than 60 CSA shareholders, Ferguson Farmers Market, City Greens, Local Harvest, Basso and Lulu's Local Eatery; excess produce is donated to cooking classes at Operation Food Search Challenges: Securing ownership of originally rented land, installing on-site refrigeration and a greenhouse Favorite part: "Our favorite part is witnessing folks from all walks of life visit our farm and become part of the EarthDance community," says Program Director, Rachel Levi. "We love to see a school kid from the city taste a Sungold tomato that she picked herself. And equally, we love it when a farm neighbor drops by and tells us a story about when he had his first summer job at the Mueller Farm." Future plans: Two high tunnels to extend the growing season; a packing shed to wash, weigh and pack; an education center and event space

click to enlarge GATEWAY GARLIC URBAN FARM OWNER MARK BROWN HIS SPANISH ROJA GARLIC | CAROLINE YOO
  • Gateway Garlic Urban Farm owner Mark Brown his Spanish Roja garlic | Caroline Yoo

Gateway Garlic Urban Farm (7601 South Broadway; 314-570-4945) Mission: To grow organic garlic as a sustainable crop and teach others to do the same as part of a self-sustaining economy Sells: Garlic Founded: 2007 Annual production: 3.5 acres Who's buying: Local restaurants and CSA programs Challenges: Overcoming skeptical neighborhood residents and city officials Favorite part: "My favorite part is hearing from others that we've inspired them -- it makes sweating in the 90 degree heat doing backbreaking work worth it," says owner Mark Brown. Future plans: Overseas sales; an organic store, an organic line of food, diversifying crops; selling wool from recently added sheep

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