How did you get started working in the food system?
North Newstead Association has supported community gardens throughout our continually expanding service area. Access to fresh and local produce as well as the skills necessary to cultivate those healthy foods is integral to NNA’s mission of promoting community development in north St. Louis City. Recently, we have expanded our footprint in St. Louis’ food system through an Elderly Services garden workshop providing an educational workshop series on healthy eating, healthy living, and gardening. The Elderly Services program also provides access to free garden beds at the Fresh Starts Community Garden and fresh free produce delivery to seniors who are unable to attend the garden workshops.
What part of the food system do you work on?
NNA works to increase access to healthy produce in areas that have limited access to fresh affordable produce.
What is the mission of North Newstead?
Our mission is to cultivate a more equitable City of St. Louis by providing and preserving affordable housing while delivering other direct services to our residents and community members. Through a continued commitment to community-informed approaches, we strive to build capacity and partnership throughout our neighborhoods highlighting resiliency, commonalities, and strengths.
What do you wish people knew about the food system in St. Louis?
NNA wishes that more people understood how multi-dimensional and interconnected the food system in St. Louis is. While increasing access to fresh produce and healthy food is important, establishing healthy eating rhythms and patterns of behavior that are contextually-informed are equally as important. Additionally, community gardens require maintenance and on-going support which is often the less glamorous side of community garden work.
How do you envision the future of the food system in St. Louis?
An interconnected web of supported community gardens that provide healthy and community-chosen foods to the local neighborhood, nearby markets, grocery stores (if any are nearby), and possibly convenience stores. There seems to be a trend toward buying, growing, and access foods produced locally and I think that this can be achieved at a high level in St. Louis.