Food Production, Nutrition, and Science Education Center Announced for Shaw

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The Green House Venture, Shaw neighborhood - St. Louis, MO

Plans were announced yesterday to turn a vacant lot in the city’s Shaw neighborhood into an $4M, 8,000sf education center focused on urban food production, nutrition, and science education for elementary school students. Titled the Green House Venture, the project is planned for the corner of Lawrence and DeTonty Streets and comprised of a greenhouse, classrooms, a small amphitheater and a teaching lab.

Engagement will focus on four local schools: Mullanphy Investigative Learning Center, Saint Louis Language Immersion School, Saint Margaret of Scotland School, and Tower Grove Christian Academy. The schools form the new Urban Education Alliance District, with more than 2,000 existing students. Academic direction will come from collaborative efforts between school leadership and faculty at nearby Saint Louis University. The contemporary design comes from UIC, designer and builder of the nearby Botanical Grove development, and Avant Grove homes in Forest Park Southeast.

The Green House Venture, Shaw neighborhood - St. Louis, MO

The Green House Venture, Shaw neighborhood - St. Louis, MO

The Shaw neighborhood has seen extensive revitalization over the past decade and is located at the nexus of major and growing research institutions, including Saint Louis University, Washington University School of Medicine, and the Missouri Botanical Garden. Those entities, joined by the University of Missouri – St. Louis, and BJC Healthcare formed Cortex, a 200-acre mixed-use bioscience and technology district.

More from the Green House Venture press release:

Inside the facility, the Venture will demonstrate a number of sophisticated aquaponic growing techniques involving fish breeding, plant fertilization from fish tanks, soiless beds, and vertical growing. Outside, it will feature a weather station, an ozone garden, a shade trellis, a climbing fruit garden, a pollinator garden, and lightweight aeroponic growing on a roof-top terrace.

Sustainability features of the facility include geo-thermal heating, water conservation methods, composting and solar panels. Across DeTonty Street on the I-44 hillside, there will be a series of raised terraces for growing native Missouri crops and exploring the feasibility of producing food on unused roadsides. Food produced by the Venture will be distributed to students in need at eight city schools by the Saint Louis University Department of Nutrition and Dietetics through the Salus Center.

To expand the availability and impact of the Venture, the facility will be equipped with advanced communication technology capabilities that will make programs accessible to other schools in the metropolitan area through online videos and live streaming of teaching sessions.

The building and its contents will cost an estimated $4 million, and it will be operated by Saint Louis University. Fund raising for the project is underway, and it is expected to be completed and operational by 2019.

The Green House Venture, Shaw neighborhood - St. Louis, MO

The Green House Venture, Shaw neighborhood - St. Louis, MO

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  • DCWind

    This is very exciting. I live at Lawrence & Shenandoah and think it is an excellent use of the site, especially given the improvements to the local schools. There is easy accessibility, it is visible from the highway (which will continue to put a nice, positive spotlight on the Shaw neighborhood, and it highlights a very important issue among revitalizing urban areas. I also like the idea of experimenting with the unused hillside of the highway for food production. I am sure there are some plant varietals that will do better/worse than others given proximity to the wind/noise/exhaust of the highway, but figuring out what works and how it can be integrated into this nutrition center is a very cool use of an empty lot/land. If this is successful, it would be great to see an extension of this on the North side of St. Louis as that area is in dire need of access to better quality food/education/etc. I know this isn’t a direct fix, but it certainly has a correlation.

  • John R

    A bit if subject, but is there any word of progress on the UIC residential development just down DeTonty a block or so?

  • Daron

    I think other comments have missed the efforts already in place by Sustainable St. Louis which has done quite a lot of work with the Thurman Gateway and the food forest near Spring. There is already an incremental effort to turn the right of way into a native landscape.

  • Alex Devlin

    I am really impressed with using the slopes along the highway as more growing space. A valuable transition for wasted easements. Someone should do this along 44.

  • Presbyterian

    This is awesome. The project also will be visible from I-44. That stretch of highway used to be quite depressing… all neglected properties and board-ups. A lot has changed.