FOOD ROOF Farm Signs Lease on 10,000sf Downtown Rooftop

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Food Roof

Back in May we wrote about the effort to find a suitable rooftop for a community farm in downtown St. Louis. For FOOD ROOF Farm, the search is finally over. This Tuesday, the group behind the idea singed a lease at 1335 Convention Plaza, just a block from City Museum, and adjacent to downtown’s popular outdoor sand volleyball courts.

Construction on the 10,000sf rooftop is set to commence next month. Envisioned as more than a garden, FOOD ROOF Farm will serve as an outdoor classroom, gathering space for community events, and innovation lab including hydroponics and vertical farming. Plans include raising chickens and keeping an active bee community.

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Urban Harvest FOOD ROOF Farm - St. Louis

There is no shortage of good ideas in St. Louis, or rather, a shortage of ideas isn’t our biggest problem. Lining up permits and any needed political support is important. Money is usually a bigger problem. So it’s interesting to see a project with funding, support, and organization that hasn’t yet been able to put down roots. This where Urban Harvest STL finds itself with the FOOD ROOF Farm project.

The FOOD ROOF Farm is what it sounds like, a rooftop farm planned for the heart of downtown St Louis. The premise is that we should grow food where we live, that forgotten or empty urban spaces can be put to productive use. Of more than 200 community gardens in St. Louis, just one is located in downtown, home to more than 13,000 residents. Urban Harvest STL built this garden on top of a parking garage, it is serving as their pilot project for rooftop farming.

Urban Harvest FOOD ROOF Farm - St. Louis

Urban Harvest FOOD ROOF Farm - St. Louis{the parking garage pilot project looks upon the monumental architecture of downtown}

Urban Harvest Founding Director Mary Ostafi presented at TEDx Gateway Arch. Check our her presentation here:

PRESS RELEASE – February 12, 2015:

ST. LOUIS, MO — Imagine a bustling rooftop farm teeming with urban farmers of all ages growing fresh, local food and a stronger community right here in downtown St. Louis.

Urban Harvest STL, the non-profit behind St. Louis’ first downtown Community Garden, today celebrated being one step closer to realizing its vision to build the city’s first rooftop farm, the FOOD ROOF Farm, after signing a lease for the rooftop space this week.

“As cities like St. Louis grow so does the need for access to fresh, affordable, local food,” says Mary Ostafi, Founding Director of Urban Harvest STL. “With issues such as food deserts and climate change threatening the very safety of our current food systems, which often depend on food being shipped from hundreds of miles away, our future resilience requires us to urgently strengthen our local food systems. In other words; we need to grow food where we live.”

One of the first projects funded through the Rally Saint Louis (RallySTL.org) crowdsourcing and crowdfunding platform, the FOOD ROOF Farm will be located in downtown St. Louis atop a three-story building on 14th and Convention Plaza, adjacent to the downtown volleyball courts, just one block north of Washington Avenue, and one block east of the famed City Museum.

More than just a farm, this 10,000-square-foot rooftop will feature an outdoor classroom, as well as gathering space for community events. In addition to raising chickens and tending bees, the FOOD ROOF Farm will also demonstrate innovative approaches to urban agriculture including hydroponics and vertical farming.

The seed for this rooftop farm project was planted early on during the development of St. Louis’ first downtown Community Garden by a group of grassroots downtown residents, which opened in 2011. But after two years of growing at ground-level, the lease on their land expired, so they relocated the garden to the top deck of an underutilized parking garage.

Meanwhile, the nonprofit’s vision to expand with the building of the FOOD ROOF Farm kept on growing. With the lease now signed, construction on the rooftop farm will begin in March, and is expected to be complete by summer.

Property owner Beau Reinberg says “we are thrilled to be able to work with true leaders like Urban Harvest STL on this project. Their passion is contagious and this project will take downtown St. Louis to the next level.”

Given the magnitude of this exciting project, the nonprofit would love to hear from any media or other interested photographers, videographers etc. who might want to document and tell the story of the building of this historic roof farm from the start of construction to first harvest in fall 2015.

For regular interviews, additional photos or more information on Urban Harvest STL, please contact:

Mary Ostafi, Founding Director
[email protected]
314.810.6770
www.urbanharveststl.org

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  • YoungMoStudent

    Really cool project that has numerous benefits. This is the type of work St. Louis needs to stay a vibrant city!