Farms & Gardens

 

Japanese_Garden_by_slonecker

The ecological footprints of cities are significant and addressing the issue of urban sustainability is a critical issue in the 21st century.  Cities require vast areas of land for food production and depend on large amounts of food being brought in from outside.  Urban agriculture therefore has an important role in contributing to the future sustainability of cities.  St. Louis Community College’s educational sustainable eco-garden (“HomePlate”) provides opportunities for participants to engage in raising food.  The educational goal is to expand participant’s knowledge and experience in methods of sustainable agriculture and environmental training.  Urban agriculture can re-educate us about the ecological base of food and the links of food production to natural food chains.  Food growing is adaptable to nearly everyone’s circumstances; from a window box to several acres.  Benefits of urban agriculture include: public health, such as an increase in healthy food consumption and a decrease in diabetes; accessible and affordable produce; community involvement; reduction of carbon emissions and sequestration greenhouse gases; biodiversity protection; and more.  The SLCC garden, established in the former baseball field, contains >50 raised vegetable beds with imported organic soil.  Roughly ¼th of the area has wildlife habitat planted with native wildflowers and prairie grasses.  Drip irrigation is used for watering and composting to replenish soil.  Focusing on educational aspects of sustainable agriculture, numerous curricular modules are available for faculty to implement in their courses across the curriculum (including biology, chemistry, mathematics, engineering, family and nutritional sciences, social sciences, business, and early childhood education).

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