Urban League Hydroponic Greenhouse

urban league hydroponic greenhouse

Urban League in St. Louis is first in the country to have a greenhouse, hydroponic farm at its headquarters

Gov. Mike Parson and local leaders gathered Tuesday afternoon for the ribbon cutting.

Urban League Hydroponic Greenhouse | Justina Coronel |

ST. LOUIS — There’s exciting news happening in north St. Louis City.

The Urban League in St. Louis unveiled a brand new facility to help solve our region’s food crisis.

It’s the first and only Urban League in the country to have a greenhouse and hydroponic farm at its headquarters.

The project is called George Washington Carver Urban Farming. The Missouri native is regarded as one of the most prominent Black scientists of the early 20th century.

Governor Mike Parson and local leaders gathered Tuesday afternoon for the ribbon cutting.

The 6,800 square foot area has a greenhouse with a hydroponic urban farm by Vested Urban Farms and Fresh Harvest 365 to grow fresh produce.

The produce grown will be distributed through retailers to provide food to St. Louis families and sold at local markets. 

Inside two containers, Fresh Harvest 365 grows vegetable and it can produce up to three to five acres.

It’s mission is to educate, employ and empower.

CEO Demetrius Bledsoe said, “We use this as an education extension with the community.”

It’ll be used to fill a gap.

“We utilize this to help with food deserts and nutrient insecurity. We have the opportunity to have this in the community to have more viable options, education and jobs,” he added. 

Their goal is to also inspire future farmers.

The greenhouse is directly next to the containers. There are 100 garden towers in the greenhouse and 200 more will be installed by the end of the year.

Towers can grow up to 150 plants, fruits or vegetables. It can produce a couple of acres.

Beverley Foster is with Vested Urban Farms.

Foster said, “We’re using high tech vertical gardening process that uses a tower garden. The way that it works, water goes up the tower and rains down to the plants.”

Vested Urban Farms is a commercial farmer, but will still work with the nonprofit.

“If the Urban League chooses to do a farmer’s market then we’ll participate. One of the things we’ll be doing is nutrition training,” Foster shared. “We probably will partner with the Urban League to see what plants they want for various operations and programs they do.”

Vested Urban Farms will encourage people to purchase towers of their own.

Ultimately, they’ll will do a salad tower with leafy greens and hope to work with schools.

Just a few minutes away is another garden on Saint Louis Avenue.

Gabi Cole is with the organization called the Fit and Food Connection.

Cole reacted to the Urban League’s news. 

She said, “I think it’s a great idea, I think we need as many people in this space doing this work.”

Their organization, along with other area farmers, have already been putting in the time. Their program is trying to improve food desert areas in north St. Louis City and County.

Cole said, “You should be able to walk up the street or drive up the street to a grocery store that has good food.”

She wants to make people have healthy, affordable options.

From the Urban League on Kingshighway, there are the three grocery stores nearby. But without transportation, it could range from a 16-minute walk to get to an Aldi or even a 45-minute walk to get to a Schnucks.

Cole said food deserts impact low-income individuals even more because they don’t have reliable transportation often.

This could cause them to rely on fast food options and convenience stores even more.   

“The people in this neighborhood who are Black or African American are at a higher rate of chronic diseaseBringing a community garden in north city to combat food insecurity and chronic disease was ideal,” she shared. 

Right now, there is a waiting list of 100 people to attain fresh food through the Fit and Food Connection. It provides healthier options to about 200 individuals and they offer emergency deliveries.

All of these groups hope to plant a seed to educate and empower the area.

Original Article Here: https://www.ksdk.com/article/news/local/urban-league-in-st-louis-greenhouse-hydroponic-farm/63-13a6cbce-380c-4e11-8dd3-5ae95066cdf5