Irresistible Community Builders, LLC presents: Year-round Urban Ag in St. Louis

Green Beings

by Tom & Carol Braford

We invite you to join us in creating a demonstration project of hi-tech year-round urban agriculture by participating in our regular Saturday morning gardening workdays at the Ecovillage.

We are creating a place where more and more people can learn how to grow their own food in the city. Our project is located in the Central West End just west of St. Louis University. It will include two grow rooms and a large greenhouse with growing beds and fishponds.

One is an indoor cool summer time grow room. The warm grow room is just west of our buildings on Olive Street in our garden. Built on an insulated foundation and covered with solar thermal panels, it will allow us to heat all the water for the sunken tilapia ponds in the summer and partially heat the greenhouse with its sunken tilapia ponds and growing beds in winter. 

As we populate the Tilapia ponds, we will be able to raise some plants hydroponically in overhead trays, which will clean and aerate the water.

In the second grow room in the basement of one of our buildings behind a south facing window, we will grow lettuce and micro-grains throughout the summer by cooling the space with water circulated from a 200′ well. 

We are already growing potatoes in tubs that we started in our basement before it was warm enough to plant outside. We will expand this movable high-intensity growing with fabric grow bags that will let us grow some light-loving, potentially long-living plants like tomatoes and peppers outside in the full light in the summer and bring them into the greenhouse in the winter, while supplementing natural light with LEDs. This could be highly helpful in expanding urban agriculture.

This facility, which is partly funded by a generous grant from the Missouri Department of Agriculture, will serve as an ongoing training facility to teach hungry people how to grow their own food and perhaps gain employment in this emergent industry.

Once production is underway, we will also re-launch the Green Beings CSA to make the enterprise self-sufficient.

Contact: braford@sbcglobal.net