Architect-turned-farmer Mary Ostafi's dream of Growing Food Where People Live is bearing fruit - and chard, eggplant, tomatos and flowers - atop a storage-unit building in downtown St. Louis.
Mary's leadership has also harvested major $$ support, from crowd-funds to a Metropolitan Sewer District Project Clear grant. With veg in the "ground" and a biz-plan in hand, this city's first rooftop farm is growing connections between loft-living eaters, social service job programs, water conservation needs, and much more.
Food Roof features include raised beds, aeroponics, a drainage board that can contain 17,000 gallons of rainwater (which won't run off to overload storm sewers), bee hives and a Milkweeds for Monarchs pollinator garden. Living lunch from a flat-roof ecosystem!
This week's Earthworms podcast is a taste of what's evolving as the Urban Harvest Food Roof Farm - featured this week in the New York Times!
Music: Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 - J.S. Bach (he liked turnips)
Peter Raven is St. Louis' own Hero of the Planet. Since 1990 he's been a Senior Science Advisor to the Pontifical Academy of Science, most recently one of the minds behind the letter from Pope Francis, released on June 18, framing climate change as a moral issue for all people of this Earth.
Dr. Raven, who is President Emeritus of the Missouri Botanical Garden, talks with Earthworms host Jean Ponzi about the papal message, about this moment for humankind, and about the potential each one of us has to make the changes needed to heal and protect the Earth.
Read the climate change encyclical, Laudato Si' - and be assured that our individual efforts do matter in a world where "climate is a common good" and ". . . .nothing is indifferent to us."
Thanks to Earthworms engineer, Andy Coco.
Music: Artifact by Kevin MacLeod
This summer watch the streets of St. Louis for a unique rolling service: a grocery store in a Metro bus. Earthworms guest Jeremy Goss and his partners Colin Dowling and Tej Azad are medical students and an MBA about to launch some serious business.
The St. Louis Metro Market will address food access issues rooted in poverty and racial discrimination. It will run as a business, generating revenue through at-cost sales in low-income neighborhoods and market-rate sales on corporate campuses. Produce supplied by community gardens and sustainable farms will help nourish our Local Food sector, as the bus delivers healthy food to folks in need. Plus cooking demos - and SAMPLES! - will encourage customers to prepare healthy meals.
This inspiring conversation blooms with "good and great" responses to needs of people, the planet - and the process of making a decent living.
Follow Jeremy and the Metro bus grocery on Twitter @STLMetroMarket
For 6 years (this month) an (amazing!) group of ordinary people have worked to keep a coal ash landfill out of the floodway of the Missouri River. Not saying "no landfill" or "close the coal plant." The Labadie Environmental Organization, LEO, marshals the resources of scientific, medical, legal and engineering experts who pitch in alongside farmers, parents, business owners - hundreds of engaged FOLKS - in efforts to get coal ash disposal sensibly and safely sited. Struggle? Yes. Crucial? LEO members and supporters believe so, and they are WORKING on this issue.
Guests: Petra Haynes and Patricia Schuba - LEO core organizers
Music: R. Roger Pryor - traditional instrumental performed 1997 at The Focal Point
Your engagement is welcome, needed and will be rewarding. Time-sensitive responses include June 11, 2015 Franklin County (MO) Commission testimony date and submission of email testimony. See LEO on Facebook for details.
Missouri's largest private landowner, Leo Drey grew a mighty forest of conservation impacts, cumulatively and literally, over his 98 years (1917 - 2015).
In this first edition of Earthworms' new podcast era, Jean Ponzi welcomes historians and fellow enviro-champions to honor a beloved colleague, leader and friend. Guests are:
Learn more about the life and work of Leo Drey - and explore conservation opportunities YOU can enjoy and support - from the Missouri Coalition for the Environment.
Jean talks with Pen Augustin, author of "Waves of Light: Messages From Nature to Heal Our Planet", about her work as an energy healing practitioner, and how humans can consciously use lessons from creatures in nature to improve themselves and the Earth.
Jean discusses the 26th annual St. Louis Earth Day with the event’s Marketing and Communication Coordinator, Jen Meyerscough. Jen tells us about what new features to expect this year, and what it takes to keep this event thriving and growing after a quarter-century.
Anne Milford, Communications Coordinator for Great Rivers Greenway, explains how advancements for bike lanes are calming traffic and benefitting the community. This month, Great Rivers Greenway is celebrating 135 miles of bike routes being established throughout St. Louis City and County, and Anne explains what’s next to help low-impact travelers get around and travel safely.
Serena Cochran, a farmer that runs Stuart Farm with her husband Fred, talks with Jean about raising meat chickens humanely and sustainably.
Patricia Schuba, Citizen Activist for the Labadie Environmental Organization, discusses an intensely debated proposal to build a coal ash landfill in close proximity to the Missouri River, the source of much of the St. Louis area’s drinking water.
Brian Ettling, activist for Climate Change solutions, discusses his first-hand experience with climate change as a park ranger, overcoming misinformation, and facing opposition in his work as part of the Climate Reality Project.
Bob Gill, grassroots lobbyist for the Sierra Club, discusses how volunteer, citizen lobbyists differ from conventional lobbyists and how they engage legislators to advocate for environmental causes.
Dr. Eric Zencey, Professor of Ecological Economics at the University of Vermont, discusses the links between ecological sustainability and a country’s success. While the Gross Domestic Product is usually used to measure a country’s economic health, Zencey tells us about the Genuine Progress Indicator, and other alternative metrics that take sustainability and biodiversity into account.
Ed Maggart, head of The College School in Webster Groves, explains the benefits of Experiential Education. Maggart discusses how Experiential Education differs from conventional methods, why it works for both children and adults, and how it can be effective in teaching kids about the environment.
Ann Dettmer, Communications Manager of the Missouri American Water Company, and Colleen Scott from the Missouri Department of Conservation, discuss the struggles to conserve water in a society where an abundance of clean water is taken for granted.
Laura Carroll, co-author and editor of the second edition of Man Swarm: How Overpopulation is Killing the Wild World, dissects the global population boom and what a lack of action could mean for the rest of our environment.
Lark Rodman discusses her community-building work with Sadhana Forest in India, Haiti, and Kenya. Sadhana Forest aims to help rural villages develop a more sustainable environment through methods like cultivating food forests and restoring stripped-down lands back to the thriving ecosystems they once were.
Mimo Davis, Miranda Duschack, and Stephanie Davis discuss raising flowers and plantlife in an urban environment, including the one-acre flower farm that they are currently raising in the Dutchtown neighborhood in South St. Louis.
Michael Sorth, Executive Director of Gateway Greening, discusses the rise of community gardens in St. Louis and making the practice more accessible with the upcoming Community Gardening Summit.
Robert Wintner, known as Snorkel Bob, discusses the subject of his new book Reef Libre: Cuba - The Last, Best Reefs In the World. Bob explains how Cuba's reefs are some of the very few reefs in the world left untouched by the outside world, and how we can protect this rare gem.