Coalition Report

By Melissa Vatterot
Food & Farm Coordinator
Missouri Coalition
for the Environment

New Policies in St. Louis are Supporting a Thriving, Local Food System

Through MCE’s work convening the St. Louis Food Policy Coalition, we have been working to advance a thriving, local, equitable, sustainable food system for our region and we just had our first policy victory on July 14, 2017. We helped Alderwomen Cara Spencer and Christine Ingrassia develop Board Bill 52, which if signed into law by Mayor Krewson, will allow residents to possess up to 8 chickens depending on the size of their property.

As an environmental organization, we care about where food comes from and how it is grown because agricultural practices have impacts on the environment. Supporting small-scale, environmentally-responsible agriculture in your local community is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and support your local food economy. Board Bill 52 allows individuals in the City of St. Louis to raise chickens in a humane condition as a way to provide nutritious, locally-grown eggs for themselves and those in their community. This bill will facilitate economic opportunity by allowing residents to have a greater number of eggs to sell at a farmers market or at an on-site stand as well as improve food security for residents and their neighbors.

Last year, we attempted to pass a bill addressing chickens, rabbits, sheep, goats, and emus. We learned through the debate of that prior bill and our subsequent outreach to residents and city departments what was feasible and desirable from city residents. When we came back with a new bill this year, we shared the data from our citywide survey with aldermen illustrating that their constituents were in favor of having more chickens. With the passing of Board Bill 52 on July 14, we saw that the Board of Aldermen understand the economic and food equity benefits of this bill and they passed it with overwhelming support!

Moving forward, we plan to use this momentum to advance the other desires of city residents expressed in our urban agriculture survey last year. We plan to work with the Land Reutilization Authority (LRA) to make it easier for residents to purchase land for food production purposes and to allow the sale of products grown on site through LRA’s garden lease program.

To follow the work that MCE is doing to support local food and sustainable agriculture in St. Louis, visit www.moenvironment.org.