Food roof in downtown St. Louis grows produce for those in need

What was a black tar roof six years ago is now an urban farm that grows food for the needy

ST. LOUIS – The people of St. Louis are finding creative ways to fight hunger in our area.

If you ever find yourself downtown near Convention Plaza and 14th Street, look up because you might see a farmer. There is a mural on one building that reads “Food Roof”. It’s truth in advertising. In the middle of the city center, they grow food on a roof.

“Grow a little bit of everything. Between 200 and 250 different types of vegetables, ”said Jamie Wallace of Urban Harvest STL.

Right now there’s more brown than green up there.

“Right now we’re really starting at the beginning of our growing season,” she told 5 On Your Side.

But in the coming months what was a black tar roof six years ago will look more like an urban farm.

“It’s just phenomenal to see a space completely dead in order to have a fully blooming ecosystem,” she said.

They take care of the ecosystem by hand and maintain it with ingenuity.

“The food canopy can hold 17,000 gallons of rainwater, which only helps keep our plants hydrated and nourished,” Wallace said.

These plants become part of a fight against a great need in St. Louis. Urban Harvest STL makes it part of its mission to fill the food access gaps.

“St. Louis has huge differences in food accessibility between certain areas where grocery stores are and are accessible to people and where they are not, ”Wallace explained.

What began as a way to grow groceries for yourself for Urban Harvest STL Founder Mary Ostafi has evolved into lines of products that make a difference.

“Donate most of the food we grow to nonprofit partners. We are able to grow approximately 5,000 pounds of food at our sites, ”said Wallace.

Urban Harvest STL does this every year. Production makes the food roof more than just a farm with a view. It’s an urban farm with a purpose.

“Food production that continues to benefit people in our community,” said Wallace.

To learn more about the food rooftop or what the charity does, visit the Urban Harvest STL website.

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