Urban Farm Spreads Its Roots in Impoverished St. Louis Neighborhood

Farming's a tough gig, even in the best of circumstances. Yesterday's St. Louis Post-Dispatch took a look at the New Roots Urban Farm, a collective organic venture that is tackling not only the challenges of raising organic crops every year, but doing so in an urban neighborhood with higher-than-average rates of poverty and crime. Despite these potential obstacles, Farm founders Trish Grim, Joseph Black and Amy Gerth, along with their collective partners, are finding success in not just raising fruits and vegetables, but also bringing fresh food and educational experiences to a part of the city in need of both.

North city's St. Louis Place neighborhood provided fertile soil for the threesome's plan. According to the P-D article,

The neighborhood they chose has little access to fresh fruits and vegetables. On Sunday, Bob's Quality Market on North Florissant Avenue had crates of soda sitting on the produce shelves. Salama Supermarket at 14th Street and Cass Avenue had wrinkled green peppers and wilted iceberg lettuce among handfuls of citrus fruits in an old drink cooler. Two fried-chicken restaurants and a hamburger outlet are the only eateries along North Florissant, the main thoroughfare.
Not exactly the terrain most entrepreneurs would venture into willingly, but with the help of some state grants, Grim, Black and Gerth purchased six city lots and started farming.New Roots has flourished since its beginning, and the collective now offers a CSA, and a youth program for neighborhood kids. The farm also donates fresh produce to local shelters, sells food cheaply to local residents, and now runs the first-of-its-kind (in St. Louis, anyway) North City Farmers Market. New Roots donates 240 $5 vouchers each month to local food pantries for use at the market.

We're inspired! Kudos to these urban farmers who, from the beginning, realized organic produce had a needed place far away from high-end suburban supermarkets. ::New Roots Urban Farm via St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Photo credit: Laurie Skrivan /P-D