We work on a lot of different sections of the food system at the exact same time. We grow food organically here in Ferguson in North County so we are producers. We are also educators, through our farm school. We teach people, adults and kids, where their food comes from and how to grow it themselves. We run the region’s only part-time, full season, apprenticeship program, which I like to think about as “farm university.” Folks who are 14 years old and above can come and dedicate ten hours a week to hands on time growing food and time in the classroom learning the skills and craft of organic farming. We hope they take what they learn and apply it to their real lives. We also work on food access. We just completed a Community Food Assessment to survey where people have the greatest need here in Ferguson. We are currently in the second phase of the project, trying to address the gaps that people see. We are trying to get people to the Ferguson Farmers Market, by use of a free shuttle that drops people off at the market.
What other organizations in STL does your organization work with on food issues?
We work with the St. Louis Food Policy Coalition, Ferguson-Florissant School District, Ferguson Farmers Market, the Missouri Department of Agriculture, Americorps, Operation Food Search, Gateway Greening, and many other local organizations here in Ferguson and the greater St. Louis Region. For example, we do an intergenerational gardening program with Strength and Honor, a tutoring and mentoring program here in Ferguson. We also host groups from all over St. Louis and all over the country on our farm. We are working with the Missouri Foundation for Health this summer along with the USDA sustainable farms, the list goes on and on.
Any projects in the works?
We are currently, continuing our community food assessment. We will be holding community input and listening sessions to try and inform the work we are doing here as well as try to address food access issues in Ferguson on the community level. We are working with the Ferguson Farmers Market to increase access to the market, through transportation to and from the market and transportation to farm for farm tours every Saturday. We are also working on promoting the Double Up Food Bucks program.
Where do you see the future of STL’s food system?
As an organization, our big mission is to sustainably grow food, farmers, and community. I would like to see more people growing food, where they are, together. There are some many people doing amazing work in St. Louis but there are so many opportunities to show people what can be done.
What do you do outside of your job that supports the local food system?
I try to grow food at my apartment. I support local food ventures. I’m a member of city greens and I try to support other local producers and businesses.
Please come visit us on the farm! Come to the Ferguson Farmers market, 8:00 am- 12:00 pm. Turnout has been really good and attendance has been increasing. One thing I really love about this market is that we have live music every week and people are hula hooping and dancing. There is a real special joy about it.