By Ashley Yarchin
ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - It's happening across the country, but St. Louis had yet to get in on this 'growing' trend until now. There's a grass roots effort downtown to raise the roof on community farming.
The sights atop of a self-storage facility at Convention Plaza and 14th Street certainly aren't much, but Mary Ostafi, a sustainability specialist at global design firm HOK (also downtown), has begun to plant the seed for something more.
"Every day we get a little bit closer to making this happen," she said in excitement.
Mary not only works downtown, but she also became a resident there three years ago.
"I wanted a place to grow my own food and the opportunity didn't exist," she explained.
That's what sprouted her first move to grow a community garden. Last year was its first, and with over 30 families farming, they produced over 1,000 pounds of food, which is way above average especially during a drought. From there, another idea blossomed.
"It's not just a container garden, but we're actually building a farm up there," Mary said of the space above that storage facility.
The hope is that it will become 10,000 sq. ft. of farmland that'll feed her community, stomach and soul, thanks to Mary's studies in architecture and going green.
"We really think that it'll help put St. Louis on the map and garner a lot of attention, and it'll serve as an opportunity to educate people more about growing food and being self sufficient when it comes to terms of their health," Mary added.
And if the money is raised and her garden grows, Mary sees it as serving as a model for many more on rooftops across the city, nipping her need for local food in the bud.
A fundraising campaign kicked off Feb. 1 through www.rallystl.org. Their group has 90 days to raise their budget goal of $65,000, and if they meet it, they'll get the cash, but if not they don't get a dime.