An Urban Food Forest Near Grand Center Arts District

Urban Food Forest Grand Center Arts District

By Linda Wiggen Kraft
Healthy Planet Green & Growing Editor

Photo caption: Custom Foodscaping worked with On Olive’s internationally renowned architect Tatiana Bilbao Estudio, to create the concept. Other architects involved in the project include: MOS, Productora, Macias Peredo, Michael Maltzan Architecture, and Howeler + Yoon.

On Olive is a 3+ acre residential development in Grand Center district that will include 27 homes designed by internationally significant architects and 16 apartment/condominiums designed by local architects. Arts patron Emily Rauh Pulitzer conceived the idea of creating modern living spaces in a vacant area near the Pulitzer Arts Foundation. She recruited the architects to create the homes with both reference to St. Louis history of brick along with a modern vision of urban living. That vision includes a unique food landscape. Part of the outdoor space is a foodscape food forest installation by Custom Foodscaping. This foodscape is a shared space where residents will be able to harvest an abundance of medicinal herbs and berries, organic vegetables, greens, and fruit right outside their doors

“Our big vision with the On Olive foodscape is to create a functional space that’s just as elegant and beautiful as the modern residences, and also one that offers a real connection to nature in the heart of the city,” says Matt Lebon, owner of Custom Foodscaping “It’s any city dweller’s dream to live alongside the walkable cultural attractions of Grand Center and harvest greens and veggies from the community food forest. With this design, On Olive residents will have it all.” 

On Olive’s food forest is built in the style of a market garden, a concept in which single crops are planted within patchworks that combine to make a diverse and colorful quilt of perennial edibles. The blocks of crops will feature the plant palette of a food forest, with traditional culinary herbs like Purple Basil and Lemon thyme as well as more uncommon herbaceous varieties like Skirret, Sea Kale and Lovage. Native flowers will draw in pollinators and add beauty. 

In the years to come, residents will enjoy an abundance of fruit from the On Olive orchard, complete with foodscape favorites like persimmons, Asian pears, serviceberries and Pie Cherries. The food forest will also consist of highly medicinal shrubs like aronia, elderberry and Clove Currant.

With On Olive, we wanted to create a development that represents a new model of urban living,” says Trampe. “We observed a consumer demand for elegant and long-lasting architecture as well as a cultural movement toward more connection to one’s food sources. Custom Foodscaping’s installation achieves both goals beautifully.” 

Other features of the On Olive development, set to be finished by fall 2021, include amenities such as a meditation garden, a swimming pool, a dog park, and a pocket herb garden.

Vist Customfoodscaping.com for a look at other St. Louis region commercial and residential foodscapes. For more information on On Olive, visit LiveOnOlive.com


About Custom Foodscaping

Based in St. Louis, Missouri,  Custom Foodscaping helps people grow organic fruits and veggies at their homes, businesses or community spaces with the mission of creating a healthier, more connected world. We are a full service design + install company– working from visioning to installation of any type of food-producing landscape. We provide consultation, design, and installation services.  Visit us at customfoodscaping.com.