Urban Farming On the Roof Tops of St. Louis

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.

Click here for the full article from the New York Times, or click here for more Front Street news.

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Virginia MacKoul

Virginia is a graduate from the University of Florida's College of Design Construction and Planning with a degree in Sustainability and the Built Environment, and a minor in Urban Regional Planning. Virginia joined the Front Street team in 2011, as an intern. Upon graduation, Virginia joined the Front Street team full-time as the Director of Client Services. Ms. MacKoul’s addition furthers Front Street’s continued growth and expansion within Gainesville and other North Central Florida markets. She was promoted to Director of Marketing in 2014 and now manages the firm’s team of interns and oversees all marketing and branding activity. Virginia was born in Boston and moved to Lee County, Florida in 1997. Virginia graduated her high school's International Baccalaureate program and started at the University of Florida with a focus on Architecture. Virginia shares Front Street's passion of giving back to the community and those in need. Virginia's hobbies include photography, cooking, football, movies, music, and spending time with her dog, Brinkley.

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