Pure Farmland™ Awards $5,000 Grant to Urban Harvest STL Through its Pure Growth Project

Urban Harvest

Donation to Help Urban Farm Network Serving Food Insecure Communities & Increase Neighborhood Access to Locally Grown Produce

Pure Farmland™ recently recognized Urban Harvest STL (UHSTL) in downtown St. Louis, Mo. for its positive impact in the area with a recent donation of $5,000. The contribution is part of the Pure Growth Project, an initiative launched by Pure Farmland in 2020 to ensure community gardens and farms continue to thrive and help increase access to fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables nationwide. UHSTL was selected as a 2021 grant recipient to support its commitment to growing and harvesting food that is donated to nearby food insecure communities.

 After receiving 103 applications from community gardens and farms across 29 states, 55 organizations were carefully selected to receive grants, providing a total of $125,000 in financial support to nurture these unique neighborhood spaces. In the spirit of continued growth, Pure Farmland increased its financial commitment by 25% this year in hopes of positively supporting as many green spaces as possible.

Food insecurity is a serious threat to the health of St. Louisans with currently 24% of residents experiencing this hardship. Coupled with high concentrations of poverty due to institutional racism and economic segregation, food insecurity has significantly increased over the past year due to business closures, job loss, and public transit restrictions, leaving many without any access to fresh produce. UHSTL is dedicated to solving this problem by diligently growing food across a network of urban farms in the community and donating the majority of its harvest to non-profit partners who help to distribute the food to those in need.

In 2021, UHSTL harvested over 5,000 lbs. of food and donated more than 60% to its distribution partners. In addition to food donations, the farm network aims to generate a more equitable food system through advocacy and education. UHSTL leads weekly garden/nutrition lessons at a local preschool, offers food justice/urban agriculture internships, and hosts educational community events at their flagship FOOD ROOF farm. Residents are inspired to volunteer because of the impact that the organization makes directly in the communities in which their farms are located. In fact, UHSTL has already logged over 600 volunteer hours this year.

Pure Farmland is celebrating the urban farm network’s exemplary stewardship and response to the need for affordable, nutrient-dense food, fulfilling their mission even during the current public health and economic crisis. The award of $5,000 will be used to support the dedicated staff, the backbone behind every successful program, as they lead the way in cultivating a more sustainable and equitable food system for all St. Louisans. The grant will provide general operating support for administrative expenses, including salaries, insurance, and benefits.

“Pure Farmland is proud to bring this opportunity to Urban Harvest STL so they can continue to uplift the community and act as a pillar of inspiration and strength,” said Michael Merritt, Senior Director of Marketing for Pure Farmland at Smithfield Foods. “Having access to fresh, healthy food shouldn’t be a privilege that only some Americans have. This is a longstanding battle in many urban and rural areas across our nation where residents suffer from lack of access to crucial nutrients. Seeing the impact of the Pure Growth Project grants implemented in these amazing programs only encourages us to keep doing what we can to provide financial relief and spotlight the work of these incredible organizations.”

“During the pandemic, we experienced a surge in food insecurity in St. Louis. Many of the folks living in the neighborhoods we serve already had very little access to fresh, nutritious food. Tack on business closures and job loss, and many people had trouble accessing any fresh produce whatsoever,” says Dameian Duwe, Director of Urban Agriculture for Urban Harvest STL. “We are really proud of the work we’ve done over the past year to provide nutritious, organically-grown produce to those who need it most in our city. This grant from the Pure Growth Project will help to support our staff as we continue working toward our mission of making healthy food available to all people in St. Louis.”

For more information, please visit www.puregrowthproject.com  

About Pure Farmland™
Pure Farmland™ is a maker of high-quality, plant-based protein products, such as breakfast links and patties, burger patties, meatballs, pre-seasoned protein starters, and dinner links and serves retail customers. Pure Farmland products are proudly crafted in the USA with soy protein, coconut oil, natural flavors, are gluten and dairy free, and serve as a good source of protein. To learn more about Pure Farmland, please visit www.Pure-Farmland.com, and connect with us on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Pure Farmland is a brand of Smithfield Foods.

About Smithfield Foods, Inc.
Headquartered in Smithfield, Va. since 1936, Smithfield Foods, Inc. is an American food company with agricultural roots and a global reach. Our 63,000 team members are dedicated to producing “Good food. Responsibly.®” and have made Smithfield one of the world’s leading vertically integrated protein companies. We have pioneered sustainability standards for more than two decades, including our industry-leading commitments to become carbon negative in U.S. company-owned operations and reduce GHG emissions 30 percent across our entire U.S. value chain by 2030. We believe in the power of protein to end food insecurity and have donated hundreds of millions of food servings to our communities. Smithfield boasts a portfolio of high-quality iconic brands, such as Smithfield®, Eckrich® and Nathan’s Famous®, among many others. For more information, visit www.smithfieldfoods.com, and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

 About Urban Harvest STL
Urban Harvest STL believes in food rights –  all members of our community should have equitable access to fresh, healthy food regardless of socioeconomic status, race, or location. We grow healthy produce across a network of seven urban farms in the heart of St. Louis and donate the majority of the harvest to nonprofit partners serving St. Louisans with limited or non-existent access to healthy, nutritious food. Urban Harvest STL also equips both aspiring and veteran growers with knowledge and resources to grow their own food through workshops, internships, and online resources. Visit www.urbanharveststl.org to learn more.