local food

  • Call Senator McCaskill & Senator Blunt - Vote YES on the 2018 Farm Bill! 

    The Farm Bill is reauthorized every five years. 2018 is a Farm Bill year and the version in the Senate is our best chance at a Farm Bill that supports our values. Missouri's Senators need to support an amendment by Senator Chuck Grassley to restore accountability and fairness to Title I, which was unable to come to a vote in committee due to a procedural requirement. The amendment will place a hard cap on the total amount of commodity program payments and benefits any one farm can receive annually, and will strengthen “actively engaged” rules to ensure that large operations cannot endlessly multiply payments by adding non-farm investors. Sen. McCaskill & Sen. Blunt also need to defend the good parts of the bipartisan Farm Bill that benefit local and regional food systems, rural business development, conservation, food access & security, beginning & socially disadvantaged farmers, crop insurance, and research. Use our online tool below to find talking points and contact information before for our Senators. You can leave MCE notes on how the call went, which is helpful for our staff when following-up with Senator McCaskill & Senator Blunt. 



  • 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!


  • Keeping Chickens in St. Louis: FAQ 

    Chickens are some of the most common farm animals in urban areas. They can be raised for their fertile manure or eggs. Raising chickens can be rewarding, fruitful, and fun for the whole family, but certain aspects must be considered before starting your flock.

    Board Bill 52, which was sponsored by Alderwoman Cara Spencer and Alderwoman Christine Ingrassia, was passed by a vote of 22-3 and signed into law by Mayor Lyda Krewson in July 2017. Ordinance 70608 now allows residents in the City of St. Louis to possess up to eight chickens depending on the size of their property. The previous ordinance only allowed up to four animals per city parcel, including dogs, cats, chickens, and rabbits.

    More than a year's worth of engaging residents and compiling data by the St. Louis Food Policy Coalition (STLFPC) contributed to the policy change in the city. The STLFPC urban agriculture survey found that residents wanted a minimum spatial requirement for various reasons, including animal welfare, public health and cleanliness, which was incorporated into the new ordinance.

    Below you can find some frequently asked questions about backyard chicken ownership and Ordinance 70608.

    Learn more about the ordinance here.

    How many chickens can I keep?

    In the City of St. Louis, you may own up to eight total fowl on a residentially zoned parcel, and none of which may be a rooster.  Before setting up a coop and flock, it is important to ensure you are in a residential zone. Those in nonresidential zones are not authorized to keep chickens by the new law.  Check this map to find your location’s zoning, or call the City of St. Louis Zoning Section to inquire about your zoning at (314) 622-3666. If you live outside of the City of St. Louis, visit The Easy Chickenfor a list of municipalities and relevant ordinances.

    Should I get chicks or chickens?

    Because the sex of chicks cannot be determined, it is encouraged to buy pullets or chickens, so as to avoid requiring the killing of growing roosters.

    Where can I buy chicks or chickens?

    When you are buying chicks, avoid unknown sources as the chicks may not have been vaccinated. McMurray’s Hatchery, Fenton Feed Mill,  O.K. Hatchery Feed & Garden Store (Kirkwood), and The Chicken Whispers are good options for St. Louis region residents. If you would like to try raising chickens before making a commitment to getting a flock of your own, The Easy Chicken provides coops and chickens for rent.  Most reputable breeders ensure that their chickens have been vaccinated against common avian syndromes (Marek’s disease, Newcastle disease, and infectious bronchitis). When raising chickens from chicks, it is the choice of the owner whether or not to vaccinate chicks to prevent diseases. There are many avian vets in the St. Louis area who you can go to when your chicken falls ill.

    How much does it cost to raise chickens?

    These costs are approximate. You can save money by building your own coop, brooder, waterers, and feeders! These materials can be purchased at most local hardware stores.

    How big does the coop need to be?

    One chicken is permitted for every four square feet of indoor enclosure and 10 square feet of outdoor enclosure, up to a maximum of eight chickens. The coop needs to be predator-proof and thoroughly ventilated, designed to be easily accessed and cleaned, and of sufficient size as determined by the Health Commissioner to permit free movement of the animals, not to exceed 50 square feet inside the coop.

    Can I let my chickens free range?

    It is recommended that chickens spend at least an hour outside of their coop per day. Regardless, the chickens must have access to an outdoor enclosure, which may or may not be the lot in its entirety. The outdoor enclosure shall be adequately fenced to contain the chickens within the enclosure and to prevent access by dogs and other predators.

    Where can I put the coop?

    No coop may be located in a front yard, or closer than 1.5 feet to a property line without a solid fence to separate the lots, or 10 feet from a dwelling on another lot with a solid fence to separate the lots. It is generally good practice to place coops and cages in the backyard and not immediately adjacent to the property lines.

    What kind of regular care will chickens need?

    A thriving flock requires regular coop maintenance. Coops provide shelter, protection from predators and a place to nest - all essential in keeping chickens content and productive. Chicken owners must regularly replace bedding, ensure a coop is properly ventilated, and provide a feeder, waterer, perch, and a nesting box to lay eggs.

    Do I have to feed my chickens?

    Chickens must be fed. The general suggested rations are 3-6 oz. of feed per chicken per day.  To provide variety and other nutrients, owners can also supplement this diet with vegetables and bread. Feed should be kept in a rodent proof container in a cool, dry environment in order to extend its shelf life. Chickens are hardy birds and can survive a St. Louis winter, but it is recommended to feed chickens more during winter months to facilitate natural insulation.  They should also have constant access to clean, lukewarm water, as just a couple hours of deprivation can cause dehydration.

    What if a chicken dies?

    Owners of aging chickens might consider giving their animals up to a sanctuary, such as Longmeadow Rescue Ranch in Union, Missouri. If your chicken dies, it is against the law to bury your chickens on St. Louis land. Dead chickens should be disposed of through the St. Louis Refuse Division at (314) 647-3111.

    I thought we could only have four animals per house. Did that change?

    In 2017, the St. Louis Board of Alderman passed Board Bill 52 (see Ordinance 70608), which amends, repeals, and enacts several ordinance provisions pertaining to the keeping of fowl in the City of St. Louis to better enable residents to keep fowl and to clarify related regulations and requirements. Board Bill 52 allows City of St. Louis residents to keep up to eight hens or other fowl, depending on the size of their yard.

    What are the rules and regulations for chickens in St. Louis?

    The City of St. Louis allow residents to keep up to eight chickens on residential parcels, free of permit, so long as the following requirements are met:

    1. No roosters are to be kept.

    2. One fowl is permitted for every 4 square feet of indoor enclosure and 10 square feet of outdoor enclosure, up to a maximum of eight fowl.

    3. A predator-proof coop is to be provided for all fowl, which must be thoroughly ventilated, designed to be easily accessed and cleaned, and of sufficient size as determined by the Health Commissioner to permit free movement of the animals, not to exceed 50 square feet inside the coop.

    4. The chickens must have access to an outdoor enclosure, which may or may not be the lot in its entirety. The outdoor enclosure shall be adequately fenced to contain the small animals within the enclosure and to prevent access by dogs and other predators.

    5. No coop may be located in a front yard, or closer than 1.5 feet to a property line without a solid fence to separate the lots, or 10 feet from a dwelling on another lot with a solid fence to separate the lots.

    6. No fowl are to be unenclosed or able to enter streets or adjoining properties or otherwise be at large at any time.

    7. Other minimum standards and regulations as established by the Health Commissioner governing the manner of keeping, raising, and sheltering of fowl are met, and adequate care given.

    What are the standards of care, according to the Health Commissioner?

    Your chickens will require a minimum standard of care to be kept, or else be deemed a nuisance or your care inadequate and potentially in violation of animal abuse statutes. The Health Commissioner will promulgate these standards. Expected standards include:

    1. Keeping the coop and enclosure clean and sanitary, and maintaining it such that it is free of vermin and adequately protects and contains the animals.

    2. Preventing inordinate abundance of flies and other pests around the coop.

    3. Controlling odor from the coop and animals.

    4. Properly containing and disposing of waste, such as by keeping waste in a fly-proof receptacle while waiting for disposal.

    5. Proper disposal of sick or deceased animals through burial or incineration in accordance with federal, state, and local law.

    If my neighbor owns chickens, how will it impact my living space or neighborhood?

    It is not permitted to keep chickens in residential front yards (Section 4 Subsection A). This way, birds will be out of sight for neighbors and passers-by. According to a survey research study in the Land Use Policy Journal, 87% of chicken owners had not received any complaints from their neighbors about their birds.

    What about the noise and the smell?

    Chickens, as long as they are well-maintained and clean, do not smell any more than any other animal. As long as owners follow basic sanitation and maintenance practices, smell should not be a problem. In addition, chickens tend to be fairly quiet animals compared to barking dogs, noisy traffic, and other typical city sounds.

    Who do I call if a neighbor is out of compliance?

    If a citizen notices a neighbor that is out of compliance with the above sanitary or spatial guidelines, you can call the City of St. Louis Department of Health as violations of this code are considered a public nuisance. Their phone number is (314) 612-5100.

    What are some of the health concerns that come along with raising chickens and how will they be addressed?

    Although there have been some health concerns over keeping backyard chickens, ensuring the health of chickens and their owners is simple as long as certain precautions are taken to prevent disease. In order to protect you and your birds from disease, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend washing hands with soap and water after handling poultry or related materials such as food and water dishes or cages. Disease can also be prevented by wearing gloves when cleaning cages and coops. Owners can prevent disease by keeping living spaces clean for chickens, monitoring for signs of sick birds, and contacting professionals for help if they believe a bird is infected. For more information and resources on disease and recommendations check out this webpage.

    Why are this ordinance and urban agriculture valuable to St. Louis?

    Backyard chickens can provide a multitude of benefits for residents including fresh eggs, natural fertilizer, and pest control. In addition, increasing urban agriculture puts St. Louis on the map as a leader in developing local food systems by supporting residents in growing and/or raising food for themselves and their community.

    Do other cities have similar policies?

    Minneapolis, Seattle, Dallas, Portland, Chicago, Detroit, and many more cities have passed similar policies. In addition to the City of St. Louis, Missouri’s own Kansas City and Columbia permit keeping backyard chickens.

    Do chickens have to go to the vet?

    Chickens, like dogs and cats, may become sick or injured and require veterinary care. Illness in chickens can be caused by fungus and dust spores left as a result of old food or dusty bedding—an important reason to keep chicken coops clean! Signs that your chicken may be ill include: feather discoloration, eye discharge, hunched posture, drooping tail, ruffled feathers, and weak legs. This is not to be confused with molting, when chickens replace their feathers for winter.

    Here are a couple of veterinarians in the St. Louis area that see chickens:

    • David J. Kersting, D.V.M., 132 Four Seasons Shopping Center (Woods Mill and Olive) Chesterfield, MO 63017, (314) 469-6661

    • Tri-City Animal and Bird Clinic, 15646 Manchester Road, Ellisville, MO 63011, (636) 227-4041

    Where can I buy supplies?

    • Bayer’s Garden Shop, 3401 Hampton Ave St. Louis, MO 63139, (314) 781-2314 (Feed, hay)

    • Cackle Hatchery, 411 West Commercial St. Lebanon, MO 65536, (417) 532-4581 (Chicks)

    • Fenton Feed Mill, 412 Water St. Fenton, MO 63026, (636) 343-7272 (2nd location in Grover, MO) (Feed, chicks)

    • OK Hatchery, 115 E Argonne Dr Kirkwood MO 63122, (314) 822-0083 (Feed, shavings, feeder, waterer)

    • Murray McMurray Hatchery, order pullets online here.

    How do I meet others who have chickens?

    Connect with local backyard chicken farmers through the St. Louis Backyard Chickens Facebook group.

    What if I want more than eight chickens?

    If you wish to keep more than eight chickens, you must own at least 20,000 square feet of contiguous land and apply for a Small Farm Animal Permit annually, requiring the submission of the name of the applicant, the address for which the permit is sought, the address and telephone number at which the applicant can be contacted, the maximum number of animals which the applicant proposes to keep, a $60 inspection fee, any additional information requested by the Health Commissioner, and submission to an inspection by the Health Commissioner.  If approved, the Small Farm Animal Permit allows for an additional chicken per 1,000 square feet of property, up to a maximum of 20 chickens.

    Where can I get more information?




    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/.



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

    Date: December 8, 2015

    St. Louis, MO: Missouri Foundation for Health (MFH) has awarded Missouri Coalition for the Environment (MCE) a 23-month $120,000 advocacy grant to lead the new St. Louis Food Policy Coalition (STLFPC).

    Where food comes from, how it is grown, and the relationship between health and the environment are important concepts to MCE. MCE’s Food and Farm Coordinator Melissa Vatterott is raising awareness about the connections between agriculture, public health, and the environment. As the coordinating agency for the St. Louis Food Policy Coalition, MCE will advocate for and advance policies that will address gaps in the St. Louis region’s capacity to deliver healthy, fresh, sustainable, and accessible local food, with a specific emphasis on targeting communities with limited access to such food. Missouri Foundation for Health’s policy portfolio prioritizes “increasing health equity for all Missourians,” which is something Vatterott anticipates the work of STLFPC will foster.

    After the release of MCE’s St. Louis Regional Food Study a year ago, Vatterott conducted outreach to stakeholders for the first four months of 2015, bringing groups together to develop a set of policy initiatives and collaborative projects to address the food system needs of the St. Louis region.

    “To effectively advocate for the health, environmental, social justice, and economic needs of the entire St. Louis region, it’s important to include organizations throughout the 100 mile radius of St. Louis,” Vatterott says.

    Such a group has existed in St. Louis before, the St. Louis Food Policy Council, which began in 2010 and closed in 2012. The new group formed as a coalition in contrast to the former council in order to emphasize the collaboration of new stakeholders and new priorities, such as emphasizing local production within the food system.

    Mary Bolling, Nutrition Program Associate at MU Extension and steering committee member of STLFPC explains, “Supporting our local farmers through STLFPC works to support improved health, lesson the environmental impact, and contribute to the local economy. By eating with the seasons, we are eating foods when they are most flavorful, most abundant, and least expensive. Locally grown food is often tastier and more nutrient dense because it is allowed to ripen longer due to the fact that it doesn't have to travel thousands of miles before arriving at the store.”

    For more information, see the St. Louis Food Policy Coalition webpage (www.moenvironment.org/stlfoodpolicy).



  • 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. 

  • Where food, health & the environment come together.


    The goal of the 2014 St. Louis Food Study is to better understand the connections between our food, health, and environment. This Study was the work of former Executive Director, Kathleen Logan Smith, MCE's Food and Farm Director, Melissa Vatterott, and a team of interns over two summers. In order to understand the local effects of the industrialized food system, they compiled data from USDA and Missouri’s Center for Applied Research and Environmental Systems (CARES). Their research demonstrates the clear link between our food, our health and the health of the St. Louis environment. We hope that this study will provide relevant data to individuals and organizations working on food, farm, & health in order to promote a more sustainable food system. 

    Below you will find the seven-chapter Food Study, the abridged report and the executive summary.  Fact sheets on the different topics the Study covers are also be found below.

    Access to the complete dataset behind the Food Study is available for $20.The data is maintained in a spreadsheet and periodically updated as more information becomes available. The spreadsheet includes citations and notes about how the data was collected. 

    To sign up for e-alerts regarding MCE's developing Food & Farm Program please click here


    St. Louis Regional Food Study Introduction and Complete Chapters


    Executive Summary and Abridged Report 


    St. Louis Regional Food Study Fact Sheets




    The County by County Data*

    Click hereto purchase access to the full data set. A login and password will be emailed to you following your purchase.






    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.


    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! 


    In creating this map, we want to promote only those businesses that truly and regularly support local farmers. We’ve provided here sourcing connections that were listed by farmers, either on their farm websites or through Slow Food St. Louis's Farm Directory.

    How To Use This Map

    We have plotted resources within the 100-mile radius of St. Louis, which we call the St. Louis Regional Foodshed and which is the geographical focus of MCE's St. Louis Regional Food Study.

    The Tabs:Click on different tabs like “Farms”, “Gardens”, etc. to view the different layers of the map. Everytime you click on a new tab the map changes what it is showing. To the right of a map is information on what is being shown, providing images, videos or links for more information.

    The Map:Drag with your mouse to move around the map and use the “+” and “-” buttons to zoom in and out. Click on the search icon to search for a specific address. Click on the “overview map” tab to get an overview of what area you are looking at.



    Definitions of Environmental Practices

    We want to support farms that use truly sustainable methods. To learn more about the terms used in the descriptions of farming practices, browse this list of definitions. Unless otherwise specified, these definitions were provided in Slow Food St. Louis’s Farm Directory. We’ve also included the ways that our partners have defined “sustainable practices” for their own lists.

    Animal Welfare Approved: This non-profit grants its certification to independently-owned family farms that raise their animals outdoors on pasture. Antibiotic use is allowed only for illness. Certification is not granted to producers who use growth hormones and requires animals be rendered insensible to pain prior to slaughter.

    Antibiotic Free: No antibiotics were used over the animal’s lifetime. According to the journal Public Health Reports, “Evidence that antibiotic use in food animals can result in antibiotic-resistant infections in humans has existed for several decades. Associations between antibiotic use in food animals and the prevalence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria isolated from those animals have been detected in observational studies as well as in randomized trials.

    Biodynamic: Emphasis is placed on the holistic development and interrelationships of the soil, plants and animals as a self-sustaining system.

    Biological pesticides: According to the EPA's Office of Pesticide Programs, "Biopesticides are certain types of pesticides derived from such natural materials as animals, plants, bacteria, and certain minerals. Biopesticides are usually inherently less toxic than conventional pesticides."

    Biointensive: A small-scale production system that fosters healthy soils, conserves space and requires low inputs, while maximizing yields and increasing sustainability and overall soil health.

    Cage Free:(Poultry) Animals are not caged up and have access to outdoor space.

    Certified Humane Raised and Handled: Growth hormones are prohibited and animals are raised on a diet without antibiotics. Antibiotics can be used in the treatment of sick animals. Access to clean and sufficient food and water and a safe, healthful living environment is also required from birth through slaughter. Producers also must comply with environmental standards.

    Certified Naturally Grown: Farmers do not use synthetic herbicides, pesticides, fertilizers, antibiotics, hormones, or genetically modified organisms. CNG livestock are raised mostly on pasture and with space for freedom of movement. Feed must be grown without synthetic inputs or genetically modified seed.

    Community Supported Agriculture (CSA): A contract under which shareholders pay an upfront fee to the farmer who then, in return, provides a share of each week’s harvest during the growing season. Both partners share the risks and rewards of small-scale farming, from unpredictable weather to bumper crops.

    Conventional: How most American farms have operated over the past 50-plus years. Commercial chemical, synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides are used.

    Cover Cropping: According to the Midwest Cover Crops Council, "cover crops are plants seeded into agricultural fields, either within or outside of the regular growing season, with the primary purpose of improving or maintaining ecosystem quality." Cover crops enhance biodiversity, create wildlife habitat, attract pollinators, reduce erosion, improve soil quality, retain nutrients, and break disease cycles.

    Crop Rotation: According to the Agricultural Research Service, crop rotation is a pre-planned system of growing different crops in succession for better soil and farm management that also considers economic conditions. Crop rotation can increase crop productivity by enhancing soil quality, managing pests, and reducing soil erosion.

    Free Range: (Poultry) Animals are allowed access to the outdoors. According to the National Chicken Council, “there’s no precise federal government definition of “free range,” so the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) approves these label claims on a case-by-case basis. USDA generally permits the term to be used if chickens have access to the outdoors for at least some part of the day, whether the chickens choose to go outside or not.”

    Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO): Plants and animals whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques in a lab. This technology is highly controversial on ethical, environmental and food safety grounds.

    Heirloom Varieties: Growing heirloom varietals helps to preserve genetic diversity by ensuring that these unique plant varieties do not become extinct. Heirloom seeds have been passed down for generations and are treasured for their unique and delicious flavors, textures and stories.

    Heritage Breeds: Traditional animal breeds raised by farmers before industrial agriculture drastically reduced breed variety.

    Hormone Free: Growth hormones are not used to force an animal to gain weight, increasing incidences of disease and leading to the routine prescription of antibiotics. Hormones are not permitted in chicken or hog production.

    Integrated Pest Management (IPM): The practice of using pesticides strategically and sparingly, alongside other techniques like nurturing greater diversity. Growers use the most economical means causing the least possible hazard to people, property and the environment.

    Intensive Rotational Grazing: The use of several pastures with one being grazed while the others are rested, allowing the vegetation to renew energy reserves, rebuild shoot systems, and deepen root systems.

    Natural Soil Amendments: According to Mother Earth News, “Natural soil amendments are used for correcting specific major or minor nutrient deficiencies in [a] plot.” For example, farmers might apply nitrogen sources such as fish meal or potassium sources such as sea deposits to enhance nutrient balance.

    No Till:An agricultural technique that minimizes or eliminates plowing, keeping soil disruption to a minimum. No Till farming increases the amount of water and organic matter (nutrients) in the soil and decreases erosion.

    Occultation: A weeding technique in which farmers cover unused beds with tarps. According to the publication The Market Grower, occultation is “a very effective way of avoiding weed proliferation in the garden and diminishing weed pressure on subsequent crops. The explanation is simple: weeds germinate in the warm, moist conditions created by the tarp but are then killed by the absence of light.”

    Pastured/Grass-Fed: Applies to cattle, poultry, and other herd animals. Animals eat pasture during the warm months and hay/silage during the colder months throughout their lives. Don't be misled by grass-fed meat--these animals all start out eating grass.

    “100% Grass-Fed and Finished” refers to the animals eating only grass, wild plants, dried hay, and silage throughout their lives.

    “Grain finished” means animals ate forage (see above) until the final month(s) when they were “finished’ on grain.

    “Grain supplemented” means the cows are fed a mixture of pasture grasses, hay and grain throughout their lives.

    Permaculture: The design and creation of self-sustaining, agriculturally productive systems which have the diversity, stability and resilience of natural ecosystems. Permaculture design incorporates a diversity of species and interrelations between species, and allows for the continuous evolution that occurs in nature.

    rbST Free: According to the Center for Food Safety, rbST (also known as rbGH) is a genetically engineered hormone that many U.S. dairy farmers inject in cows to boost milk production. "In cows treated with rbGH, significant health problems often develop, including a 50% inclrease in the risk of lameness (leg and hoof problems), over a 25% increase in the frequency of udder infections (mastitis), and serious animal reproductive probelms." In addition, research has demonstrated that the "levels of a hormone called 'insulin-like growth factor-1' (IFG-1) are elevated in dairy products produced from cows treated with rbST" and that IFG-1 is "an important factor in the growth of cancers of the breast, prostrate, and colon."

    “Sustainable practices” according to Food Works: As listed in Food Works’s member directory.

    “Sustainable practices” according to Illinois Stewardship Alliance: Farmers wishing to be members in Buy Fresh Buy Local–Central Illinois must agree to to the following statement in the application.

    "I understand and meet the eligibility requirements stated on the reverse side of this application. I will uphold the integrity of the Buy Fresh Buy Local--Central Illinois purpose while I am a member and adhere to these guidelines. I agree to use my knowledge, skills, and land to grow high quality products that will be sold primarily in the Central Illinois region. I will displace the BFBL-CI graphics and agree to use them for the promotion of my farm and only on items that adhere to these eligibility requirements."

    Synthetic Herbicide- and Pesticide-Free: According to the EPA, synthetic pesticides are the most widespread method for pest-control. However, “[e]nvironmental and human health problems related to the use of synthetic pesticides have created an increasing pressure against their use.” For example, pesticides can “leach through the soil and enter the groundwater below.” In addition, pesticide residue on food may be consumed by humans. Similarly, the EPAalso states that “herbicides are applied to soil or terrestrial vegetation, which can increase herbicides in groundwater dischage, atmospheric drift, and in runoff (storm or irrigation).”

    Vermi-composting: According to the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery, vermi-composting is the practice of using worms to break down food scraps. The resulting material is a mix of worm castings and decomposed food scraps...Worms like to feed on slowly decomposing organic materials like fruit and vegetable scraps. Worms produce castings that are full of beneficial microbes and nutrients, which makes a great plant fertilizer. Worms are very efficient at breaking down food scraps and can eat over half their body weight in organic matter every day.

    USDA Organic:  To be certified “organic” by the USDA, farmers use sustainable growing practices, do not use synthetic drugs, synthetic fertilizers or synthetic pesticides, irradiation or genetic engineering, artificial growth regulators, antibiotics, food additives or human sewage sludge as fertilizer. Many farmers follow organic practices but choose not to be certified.


    Looking for more maps related to food and agriculture? Check out these maps below:

    CAFO Map of Missouri and Illinois


    North St. Louis Food Access Map  

    Thank you to our Partners!



    This map would not have been possible without our partners, Slow Food St. LouisIllinois Stewardship Alliance, and Food Works, providing MCE with the names of the sustainable farms they work with, their farm practices, their product types, their contact information, and at which stores, farmers markets, and restaurants you can find their products. Greening Dining Alliance (GDA) also provided us with a few additional restaurants that GDA has certified as sourcing >15% of their ingredients locally during the growing season.

    Other useful resources: We also found useful resources through RISE’s urban farm map and the USDA Farmers Markets Directory. Farms that practice sustainable agriculture practices stated which farmers markets they sell to and that information is provided in the farmers markets' infomation boxes. In addition, we included all farmers markets in the state of Missouri to allow all Missourians to know where they can start if they want to get connected with local food. 

    You can also view this survey on a separate webpage

  • Eat, Drink, & Shop Local!

    The St. Louis Food Policy Coalition has put together a list of restaurants, breweries, and stores in St. Louis that specialize in sourcing most of their ingredients and items for sale from local farmers. Check out our guide below and start eating, drinking, and shopping local today!

    On the go and want to know which restaurant, brewery, or store is closest to you?
    Check out our Local Food Resources Guide in map form below!


    For a more extensive map of all things "local food" in the region, including gardens, farms, farmers markets, and all restaurants and stores that we know of that source locally, check out MCE's Interactive Local Foodshed Map

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