Ever dream about being a farmer, but the only thing standing in your way is the fact that you live in St. Louis? Well, your luck may have just changed. Mary Ostafi has started an initiative to dump 40 tons of dirt on a two-story building on the edge of downtown St. Louis in an effort to grow organic vegetables in a venture called the Food Roof Farm, and also known as Urban Harvest STL. Ostafi wants to start an urban revitalization in St. Louis which has recently increased its population, but Ostafi says more importantly she hopes the Food Roof Farm venture will help the socioeconomic and racial divide in St. Louis known as the Delmar Divide.
Ostafi says that she gained inspiration from cities like New York, Seattle, Chicago and Milwaukee, and aims to use this initiative to help develop the community and create jobs. Urban Harvest STL is taking notes from bigger roof top farmers and is looking to continue to grow. The interest in rooftop farming is growing, and some building owners see it as a way to increase their buildings property value. While it seems Urban Harvest STL has everything on their side, they are facing some challenges like finding willing landlords, suitable buildings, and the initial costs to start a plot of land. However, even facing all these challenges, Ostafi believes that Food Roof Farm will be the first of many rooftop farms in downtown St. Louis and that the local community will continue to grow and develop. While success is not immediate in this industry, Ostafi is optimistic that in a couple years they will generate enough revenue to be self-sufficient and hopefully expand to other rooftops.