George Washington Carver Farms will transform former vacant lots into a beautiful green landscape that creates space for agriculture and education.

Project Overview

FNC23-1394
Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2023: $15,000.00
Projected End Date: 01/31/2025
Grant Recipient: Ujima
Region: North Central
State: Missouri
Project Coordinator:

Commodities

  • Fruits: apples, paw-paws, peaches
  • Vegetables: greens (leafy), greens (lettuces), okra, onions, peppers, sweet potatoes, tomatoes
  • Additional Plants: herbs

Practices

  • Crop Production: crop rotation, food product quality/safety, high tunnels or hoop houses, pollinator habitat, row covers (for season extension)
  • Education and Training: demonstration, networking, youth education
  • Farm Business Management: land access, value added
  • Pest Management: mulching - vegetative, row covers (for pests)
  • Production Systems: organic agriculture, permaculture
  • Soil Management: composting, earthworms, organic matter, soil analysis
  • Sustainable Communities: community development, community services, employment opportunities, urban agriculture

    Proposal summary:

    Our urban farm site is located in Fairground Neighborhood. This historic north St. Louis community has been devastated by food apartheid and environmental racism. Most of the land we own has sat vacant for decades. The soil, water, and air quality have been compromised due to illegal dumping and the dilapidating buildings that surround the property. Our education will be centered around urban agriculture and environmental stewardship. There is a serious lack of comprehension about our food systems and how our food is grown among young people. There are also high rates of unemployment for Black residents in St. Louis. Black St. Louis residents are nearly 5 times as likely as white residents to experience unemployment.  

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Our research will be centered around increasing pollinator diversity and soil rehabilitation. GWC Farms will partner with institutions like Tyson Research Center and Lincoln University to track the pollinator traffic at our urban farm sites before and after we complete the installation of our native garden, outdoor classroom, demonstration garden, and herb spiral May 2023. We will also be tracking soil health on our properties after incorporating plants like sunflowers, bamboo, hydrangeas and native plants. Our education will be centered around urban agriculture and environmental stewardship. We will partner with other local farmers on urban agriculture workshops including Leah Burnett (Confluence Farms/Growing Food Growing People), Tyrean Lewis (Heru Urban Farming), and Vince Lang (Odds & Ends Farm). Not only do we want to create educational opportunities, we want to create networking and job opportunities for Black and other marginalized youth in agriculture. GWC Farms will work with over 400 students from the greater St. Louis Area and engage them in outdoor education experiences. In addition, we host an annual summer Apprenticeship Program for 5-10 high school students that focuses on urban agriculture, culinary arts, entrepreneurship, and occupational therapy.

    Objectives

    • Complete construction of native garden, outdoor classroom, demonstration garden, and herb spiral
    • Host 400 students for outdoor education experiences at the farm
    • Host 3rd annual summer Apprenticeship Program
    • Host networking event for local farmers¬†
    • Observe and identify pollinators occupying space in our native garden, herb spiral
    • Plant sunflowers, bamboo, hydrangeas and natives in our demonstration garden and native garden
    • Test soil at community garden site and urban farm before and after 2023 growing season
    • Share research and education results during tours, outdoor education workshops, social media, and our newsletter
    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.