saint louis local food

  • Melissa Vatterott, Food & Farm Director

    Rae Miller, Local Food Coordinator

    Tosha Phonix, Food Justice Organizer

    Our environment provides us with many natural resources and benefits, from the air we breathe and the water we drink to natural spaces that help us relax and reconnect with nature and each other. The food we eat is also a resource provided by our environment and, like air and water, is one that we all cannot live without. MCE believes that the food system is an integral part of our environment and that a healthy food system is both sustainable and equitable—it preserves the integrity of air, land, and water while producing abundant, healthy food that is accessible and affordable across all communities.

    However, people are disconnected from the food they eat. Most of the fruits and vegetables Missourians eat come from far away, due to our region’s focus on commodity farming—growing corn and soy mainly for livestock feed, processed food, and ethanol. In spite of our region’s rich soil, abundant water, and our ability to produce the fruits and vegetables we need, many communities, both urban and rural, are going hungry. People across the state are suffering severe health consequences due to inequitable distribution and affordability of healthy foods.

    We believe that to sustain a healthy environment and healthy communities across Missouri, we must work toward a future in which nutritious, locally produced food is accessible and affordable for everyone, and farmers can make a living wage producing it. Our Food and Farm Program is working toward this vision by convening and coordinating the St. Louis Food Policy Coalition, a group of people and organizations across the region united in their efforts to achieve such a future.

  • Thank you to all who participated in the St. Louis Food Policy Coalition's survey about growing food in the city! The survey is now closed. We were able to hear from 854 people from 75 of the city's 79 neighborhoods! Through this survey effort, we sought to learn from city residents: 1) what they and their neighbors are already growing, 2) what types of agriculture activities they would like to see in the city, and 3) how they would like those activities to be regulated. Five participants will receive a gift basket of food and farm swag from STLFPC members! We will use the survey responses to draft an urban agriculture ordinance that meets residents' needs and desires.
     
    We developed this survey with the assistance of Andy Bramman, a St. Louis University student, interning with MCE's Food and Farm Program this summer.
     

    The results are in!

    View results from the entire city here as well as the results for the neighborhoods in North CityCentral Corridor, and South City!
     
    See the survey results by ward below: 
     

    Click here to read our press release about the survey results. 

    Read articles from the St. Louis Post Dispatch and St. Louis Public Radio about the survey results. 

    Maps of the Survey Data

    Click to Zoom

     

    Alderwoman of the 19th Ward, a Champion for Food Access and Community Gardening

    Alderwoman Marlene Davis is committed to the issues expressed in the survey results above. Davis says, 

    "In neighborhoods with limited food access, residents must leave their neighborhood to access nutritious food. Many of these same neighborhoods have vacant lots, littering our neighborhoods with overgrown weeds and costing our taxpayers thousands to maintain. We can start to address both of these issues by organizing strategic plans for our communities, empowering residents to take back their vacant lots, put the land into productive use, and provide themselves and their neighbors with a source of healthy food."

    We thank her for her commitment to address food access and support food growing activities in the City of St. Louis!

     

  • FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Date:October 4, 2017

    Contact:Melissa Vatterott, Food and Farm Director, (314) 727-0600, ext. 111, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Missouri Coalition for the Environment (MCE) was selected as a recipient for the USDA Local Food Promotion Program. They will receive approximately $45,000 to support local food efforts in the St. Louis region. MCE convenes the St. Louis Food Policy Coalition (STLFPC), a stakeholder group of organizations working in community development, urban farming, food access, public health, local food sales, and the environment. STLFPC’s mission is to promote a thriving local food system that supports the community, health, environment, and economy of the Greater St. Louis area.

    The grant provides funding to increase purchasing of local food by public institutions. MCE will conduct a study to identify, assemble the resources, and connections needed to build the system of sourcing of products to area institutions, and thereby increase product sales and local food access for consumers. Some of the short-term impacts include an increase in farmers understanding of the potential profitability of selling locally produced food to institutions as well as for increased understanding of Fair Shares CCSA of the potential for helping member farmers reach new markets. Project staff will specifically assess the 1) demand of locally sourced agricultural products from institutions; 2) regulatory demands of farmers with Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) certification training; and 3) available and potential supply from area farmers, including standardization of agricultural products in order to aggregate from farmers of various sizes, defining 10 target agricultural products area farmers can produce to meet the large volume requirements of institutions, and researching models for transportation of products and traceability back to the farmer for consumer awareness. Additionally, the study will promote the farmer narrative to institutions.

    “This funding will help us better understand how to meet market demands with local food products,” said Melissa Vatterott, Food and Farm Director at MCE.

    "MCE has taken the initiative, through the St. Louis Food Policy Coalition, to engage in conversations with us and other farmers in the St. Louis region about how to grow their farm business and reach new markets, such as institutions," says Holly Buck, owner of Rosy Buck Farm in Beaufort, Missouri. "We trust MCE to conduct the necessary outreach and information collection necessary to determine if getting our practices into institutions would be best for us, and the region."

    As the St. Louis region thinks about its response to extreme weather events from climate change, such as increased flooding, and its dependence on drought-prone places like California for its food supply, local food provides opportunities for gains in environmental sustainability, nutrition, and public health.


    For more information, visit www.moenvironment.org/.

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  • After releasing the St. Louis Regional Food Study in November 2014, Missouri Coalition for the Environment sought to bring experts and passionate individuals together from diverse interest groups to address the food system needs of the Greater St. Louis area. In St. Louis, there are many great, local efforts addressing hunger, food access, sustainable agriculture, nutrition, social justice, community and economic development. The St. Louis Food Policy Coalition seeks to bridge these efforts to form a coordinated, local food system. We seek to leverage the myriad efforts underway. The work of all of these efforts will be lifted by a strong, connected local food system. Specifically, we shall work to shape public policy and influence decision makers about local food systems and their connections to concerns of health equity, environmental conservation and restoration, social justice, community development, and economic development. Together, Steering Committee members shall build capacity to become a united advocacy bloc. This united advocacy bloc shall work collectively to make changethat will further the goals of all stakeholders involved.​

    Mission Statement

    Vision Statement

    To promote a thriving local food system that supports the health, community, environment, and economy of the Greater St. Louis area.

    A thriving local economy in the Greater St. Louis area where everyone has access to affordable, healthy food from local producers who are stewards of our soil, air, and water resources.

    Core Values

    Our Priorities

    • Community - Relationships, open communication, understanding, and collaboration among diverse stakeholders and between stakeholders and community members

    • Education and Empowerment - Opportunities and support for everyone in the Greater St. Louis area to improve their lives and communities

    • Equity - Geographic Access and Affordability of healthy, culturally relevant food for individuals in all socioeconomic components of the Greater St. Louis area

    • Health and Nutrition - Nutritious food, prioritizing whole foods without chemical or genetic additives

    • Sustainability and Environmental Stewardship - Local farmers and ranchers taking care of their land and policies that support sustainable land use in urban and rural communities. Based on SARE’s definition of “sustainability,” a sustainable food system must prioritize:

      • Stewardship of our region’s soil, air, and water

      • Quality of life for farmers, ranchers and their communities

      • Profit over the long term

      • Shorter supply chains to reduce the ecological footprint of our food system

    • Local - Production and availability of healthy food produced within a 100 mile radius of St. Louis, recognizing that supporting farmers within 150 miles will help to incorporate farms that are outside 100 mile radii of the nearby metropolitan areas, Chicago and Kansas City.

    • Economy - Businesses and individuals seeking to purchase healthy food from local farmers and ranchers, capturing more of our food dollars in the Greater St. Louis area.

    • Food Access and Public Transit Access
    • Land Access for Urban Agriculture
    • Institutional Local Food Purchasing

    Check out MCE's Interactive Local Foodshed Map! It is a great way to find local and environmentally responsible farmers in the St. Louis Regional Foodshed.

    STLFPC Brochure

    STLFPC is working with East/West Gateway on their food access goal to reduce by half the number of census tracks where 70% of residents are considered low income and low (food) access by 2027.The goal was drafted from the 2017 Sustainability Summit through One STL. Visit their food page to learn more.

    View the St. Louis Food Policy Coalition Membership page to learn more about the St. Louis Food Policy Coalition structure and the steering committee members.

    How to Get Involved

    For more information about how you or your organization can be involved in the St. Louis Food Policy Coalition, contact MCE Food and Farm Director, Melissa Vatterott, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone at 314-727-0600, ext. 111. 

  • STLFPC Member Organizations

    The St. Louis Food Policy Coalition is a group of stakeholders who represent organizations, businesses, farms, local government, and other entities that either 1) work to advance at least one of the core values or 2) work in the counties that the St. Louis Food Policy Coalition supports. The STLFPC functions as a formal multi-stakeholder entity.

    Coalition Allies

    Coalition Allies are organizations and individuals that have declared in writing, either by mailed letter or email communication, that they support the mission and vision statements of STLFPC and offer to provide resources to further the STLFPC’s goals, such as informational materials and support at events. Coalition Allies do not need to be willing to participate in grassroots lobbying or advocacy activities but they are welcome to participate in work group meetings as they see fit.

    Board of Advisors

    Advisors are individuals sought out by the Director, either with or without recommendation by other coalition members, that demonstrate particular expertise necessary to further the goals of STLFPC and who cannot participate in work groups given their geographic location, work schedule, or other conflict. The Director calls on the advisors for input, feedback, or other forms of assistance as needed.

    Work groups

    Steering Committee members and individuals in the community with related expertise and interest will come together to form workgroups to advance a policy or collaborative project initiative. The Steering Committee determines which initiatives the Coalition will lead and workgroups will be formed to take action on those initiatives. One or two Chairs will lead each workgroup and the role of Chair will be filled by a Steering Committee Member.

    Community Member Involvement

    STLFPC welcomes and encourages community members to join a work group, become a Coalition Ally, or attend public community meetings. Additionally, residents of North St. Louis interested in advancing strategies to address healthy food access in North St. Louis are encouraged to connect with our Food Equity Advisory Board. Email Food Justice Organizer, Tosha Phonix, for more information at tphonix@moenviron.org.

    Without the involvement of individuals who live in the communities we seek to support, we cannot ensure that our strategy and projects will benefit those communities. Thus, STLFPC finds it essential to support the involvement of community members and arrange our meeting times and spaces accordingly to maximize the involvement of interested community members.

     

    Current Coalition Members

    Matt Schindler, Gateway Greening

     

    Leslie Bertsch, Nutrition and Health Education Specialist

    MU Extension in St. Louis County

     
    Debi Kelly, Horticulture and Local Foods Specialist
    MU Extension in Jefferson County

     

    Ryan Albritton, Sprouthood 

     

    Trina Ragain, Operation Food Search

     

    Sara Hale, Fair Shares CCSA

     

    Lindsey Motto, EarthDance Farms

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Brian DeSmet, Fair Food Network

    Bonnie Harper, One STL

     

     
     
     
     
     
     
     

    Clare Higgins, Urban Harvest STL

     

     

     

    Lucas Signorelli, STL MetroMarket

     

     

     

    Rev. Audrey Hollis and Steve Hollis, United People Market

    Ellen Barnidge, Saint Louis University School for Public Health and Social Justice

       

    Gibron Jones, Holistic Organic Sustainable Cooperatives (HOSCO)

     

    Erica Willams, A Red Circle

     

     

     

     

    Rachelle Bartnick, American Heart Association

     

    Dana Giboney-Wallace, St. Louis County Health Department

     

     

    Craig Schmidt and Melba Moore, St. Louis City of Health

    James Forbes and James Hillis, Good Life Growing

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Becky Reinhart, DeSales Community Development

     

     

     

     

     

    Preston Walker, Eat Here St. Louis

    Clara Steyer, Washington University Office of Sustainability

     

     

     

    Kelly McGowan, Gateway Region YMCA

     

     

    Denise Evans, Slow Food 

     

    North Newstead Association, Matthew Moore

     

     

     

    Individual Members

    Lynn Peemoeller, Food Systems Planner

    Jenn DeRose, Program Manager and Communications Specialist for the Green Dining Alliance

     

     

     

    Current Coalition Allies

     

    Miranda Duschack, Lincoln University Cooperative Extension

     

    Jenny Connelly-Bowen, Community Builders Network

     

     

     

    BJC's Healthy Schools Healthy Communities

     

    City Greens Market

     

      

     

    For more information about how you or your organization can be involved in the St. Louis Food Policy Coalition, contact MCE Food and Farm Director, Melissa Vatterott, at mvatterott@moenviron.org or by phone at 314-727-0600, ext. 111. 

     
  • FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE     

    Date: December 13, 2017

    Contact: Melissa Vatterott, (314) 581-0561This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Survey Results Indicate New Policies Needed to Support Urban Agriculture in St. Louis City

     

    St. Louis, MO: Onsite sales of produce and eggs, allowing for more backyard chickens, and making it easier for city residents to purchase land for food production purposes are some of the recommended policy changes needed to enhance local agriculture according a survey by the St. Louis Food Policy Coalition. The survey was completed by 854 city residents in 75 of the city’s 79 neighborhoods. 

    “We conducted the survey to build a foundation for changing local food policy,” said Melissa Vatterott, director of the St. Louis Food Policy Coalition. “It is clear there are barriers standing in the way of accessing local, nutritious food and we intend to change that.”

    Nearly 100 people surveyed said they would like to sell either their produce or eggs from a stand in their yard or community garden. Of those who indicated encountering obstacles to gardening or farming in the city, 28% reported the inability to sell produce or eggs from their home or community garden as an issue for them.

    The City of St. Louis only allows four total animals on any given lot, including dogs, cats, chickens, and rabbits. 63% of the respondents are in favor of allowing more chickens and rabbits, with another 21% wanting to learn more. 

    “Small towns and big cities are addressing food access in ways that can be repeated here in St. Louis,” said Alderwoman Cara Spencer. “The results from this survey will be valuable for the next mayor and board of alderman to support agriculture policies that are responsive to our constituents.”  

    The most popular recommendation, with 77% support, is that the city needs to make it easier for, and give preference to, residents in the City of St. Louis to purchase land for food production purposes. In addition, of those who reported encountering land use obstacles to gardening or farming, more than half reported land prices are too high for just growing food, a quarter said residential tax rates are too high for just growing food, and nearly half reported LRA’s garden lease program as an obstacle because it does not guarantee the lots will not be purchased by someone else. 

     "Urban agriculture provides numerous benefits, including improving food access, beautifying neighborhoods, and providing economic opportunities for city residents," said Vatterott. "It's a tool we can use to address some of the environmental and social injustices seen in our city and we hope the next mayor will make it a priority." 

    “In most of our projects, the community garden often becomes more than just a place to grow food for the people in the neighborhood,” said Steve Hutchison, President of Revitalization 2000 and cofounder of The Ville Collaborative. “Nutrition education, how to garden, the science of gardening, and beautification help bring hope to distressed neighborhoods.” 

    Results from the survey are being released in the aggregate, by ward, and by region (north, central, south). 

    “The Department of Health looks forward to working with Alderwoman Ingrassia, the Missouri Coalition for the Environment, and the St. Louis Food Policy Coalition on the next steps to developing an urban agriculture policy that makes sense for our city,” said Melba Moore, acting director of the city’s Health Department.

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    Click here to view the survey results. 

     

  • Help MCE Improve the Interactive Local Foodshed Map!

     

    Click here to further explore the Interactive Local Foodshed Map! 

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