Local Food Hero Spotlight on Amy Mooneyham of Seeds of Love Farm
Where is your farm, what do you sell?
Actually, we don’t sell our products. Instead, we donate food to different food pantries. We grow berries, sweet potatoes, melons, beans, peas cauliflower broccoli, okra, onions, garlic, and all the herbs. Everything we grow, we grow organically. We use sustainable farming methods such as interplanting with flowers and plants, integrated pest control, long rows, and raised beds depending on the crop.
When did you start farming?
I saw the need for people to have access to fruits and vegetables when I was working in Western St. Charles and saw people mostly getting processed food in cans and boxes.
What is your background? How long have you worked on the farm?
I grew up on a farm! I have been working on Seeds of Love for seven years. It’s been a community effort. We have two properties, one is at the LINC St. Charles Community Center. We asked to use some land that wasn’t being used around baseball and football fields and the garden has been expanding since. The other is at Living Lord Lutheran Church. We have been given all of our funds by churches and community centers.
What do you wish people knew about the food system in St. Louis?
There are too many people still going hungry. The need for food greatly outweighs the amount of donations being made. Target, Walmart, and Schnucks donate to pantries, but they only donate fresh food that is about to expire, not actually fresh food. Other community gardens should look into donating fresh food. Additionally, if you grow food in communities where there is a need for food, they will learn how to grow it. The best way and the only way to get the most fresh, most nutritious food is to grow it yourself. Children today are so removed from the food system. It is incredible how many kids don’t know where their food comes from. However, if you take the time to teach them, children are amazingly receptive and excited about growing food.
What has been your greatest struggle as a small farmer in the food industry?
Getting volunteers is not easy. But then again, nothing in growing and planting is easy. It is hard work but well worth it. I have spent the last three to four years educating people about their food and have been most successful in last two years. People need to educated about food before they eat, or else it will go to waste.
Where do you see your farm in the long run?
Right now we are supplying two food pantries and we would like to serve more. We would like to acquire more land, hire more employees, and get more volunteers. We would eventually like to plant saleable crops and get some produce into the market industry.
What is your favorite growing season/crop?
My favorite crop is okra! It is great both economically and nutritionally. It can withstand drought, does not require that much nutrition in the soil, and doesn’t require that much care. It is more nutritious than broccoli and spinach. Grilled okra is amazing if you scoop out the inside and put in cheese, rice, meat, or pico de gallo. Other crops that have a big bang for buck nutritionally are broccoli, kale, and berries.
Overall I am very excited about what the St. Louis area is doing. I visit a lot of farms in the city and county. I am also excited about the work the University of Missouri in Columbia is doing in agriculture!