community garden

Urban Harvest STL's new farm will cover 10,000 sq. ft. on the roof of a two-story building in downtown St. Louis.
Artist's rendition courtesy of HOK

St. Louis will soon have its first rooftop farm.

Urban Harvest STL signed a lease for the space this week on the roof of a two-story building a couple of blocks east of the City Museum.

The non-profit’s founding director, Mary Ostafi, said the 10,000 sq. ft. rooftop will be more than just a community garden. “We’re going to have an outdoor classroom, as well as a gathering space for community events," Ostafi said. "We’ll be raising chickens and tending bees."

Gateway Greening intern Ting "Bella" Liu shows students at Clay Elementary School in North St. Louis how to harvest peas.
Gateway Greening

A St. Louis-based community gardening organization is wrapping up its 30th year with a record harvest.

Gateway Greening’s community and youth gardens harvested more than 190,000 pounds of fresh vegetables and fruit in 2014.

The nonprofit’s executive director, Mike Sorth, said the organization provides basic gardening supplies and assistance to neighborhood gardens, schools and youth groups.

Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

Even though up to a foot of snow could blanket parts of the region by tomorrow night, that didn’t stop the St. Louis County Library District from launching a pilot program to put community gardens outside some of its branch locations.

This morning volunteers began assembling 20 raised beds at Prairie Commons Branch in Hazelwood that organizers hope will serve as test plot for future efforts.

A common issue for community garden groups is varying levels of participation among the gardeners. The result of some gardeners not tending their beds on a regular basis means that, at best, the beds are weedy and aesthetically unpleasing or, at worst, the beds are completely overgrown and spreading weeds, diseases, and pests to the other beds. Beyond these consequences, lack of full involvement hampers the spirit of community--building relationships with one's neighbors, demonstrating pride in one's neighborhood--that community gardeners aspire to achieve.

St. Louis Public Radio

Welcome to our bi-weekly gardening column. To complement our weekend programming, we're offering more arts, culture, and lifestyle articles. Here, I write about the trials and tribulations of my own gardening and that of others--including community gardeners working to establish a space in which to grow. I hope you get inspired to dig in the dirt yourself.