Farm Tour: The Next Generation of St. Louis Farmers

About the tour

Be prepared to be inspired. This tour features three St. Louis producers who are locally creating tomorrow’s sustainable agriculture landscape.

The first stop is Straw Hat Aquaponics, a business in deepwater aquaponics that grows microgreens, kale, prepared salads, lettuces and herbs in Ferguson. Here you’ll learn about their business model, the necessity for sustainability in their growing system and how they hope to develop in the coming years.

Next, you’ll visit EarthDance Organic Farm School, an organic farm and educational center in the suburbs of Ferguson.  Founded in 2009, EarthDance operates a season-long educational apprenticeship program which trains participants in sustainable agriculture from seed to market. This farm also hires local high school students and gives them important skills for future success. You’ll be inspired by this organization’s vision and energized by its support of local youth and beginning farmers.

The final stop on this tour is Three Rivers Community Farm. Three Rivers is located near the village of Elsah, Illinois and is in its 12th-year of operation. The farm is owned and operated by founder Amy Cloud and her husband, Segue. At Three Rivers, you’ll hear from Amy about her transition out of the “beginning farmer” years and you’ll be captivated by the devotion of her family to sustaining Three Rivers’ 300-person CSA and farm stand.

Tour highlights: aquaponics, urban agriculture, community development, CSA, youth education, beginning farmer support, mentorship, vegetable production, fruit trees, laying hens, farm store, historic organic farm

8:30 AM to 4:30 PM, Thursday, April 5th, 2018

Cost: $75.00

This tour includes lunch.

More about the farms:

Straw Hat Aquaponics: http://www.strawhataquaponics.com/#

In the basement of a seemingly inconsequential building in Ferguson, Straw Hat Aquaponics grows microgreens, kale, pea shoots and lettuces. They market their produce at farmer’s market and to restaurants in the area.

 

 

EarthDance Organic Farm School: http://earthdancefarms.org/

Located on the old Mueller farm, the “oldest organic farm West of the Mississippi,” EarthDance has about 14 acres with close to four in production; They grow summer and fall produce, have recently planted fruit trees based on permaculture principles, raise laying hens and produce fresh cut flowers.

They have received several SARE grants, including:

FNC15-999 – “Greening” a Greenhouse Through Sustainable Energy Solutions

YENC15-089 – Junior Farm Crew

FNC14-970 – Growing a Pear Orchard at an Organic Farm School to Increase Supply and Demand for Organic Tree Fruit in St. Louis, MO

FNC09-785 – Educating from Seed To Market: An Organic Farming Apprenticeship Program in St. Louis, Missouri

 

 

 

 

Three Rivers Community Farm: http://www.threeriverscommunityfarm.com/

Three Rivers is located on 25 acres near Elsah, Illinois along the Missouri River. They currently have eight acres in production, with 70 laying hens and three high tunnels. Their CSA has around 300 members.

They received a SARE grant in the past: FNC06-606 – Water Conservation and Grey Water Recycling at Three Rivers Community Farm