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All the News That is St. Louis
Spotlight on St. Louis Area Neighborhood Activities - Updated July 8, 2010

City Seeds Urban Farm Receives $50,000 Grant
ST. LOUIS, MO, (, July 8, 2010 - Gateway Greening's City Seeds Urban Farm was one of four non-profit finalists for What Do You Care About TODAY?, a contest sponsored by the NBC® TODAY Show and the Pepsi Refresh Project granting one winning organization $100,000!

Nominated by a volunteer, City Seeds Urban Farm was chosen from over 700 non-profits nationally. On July 7, the non-profit finalist receiving the most votes was announced live on the TODAY Show. While Gateway Greening did not receive the $100,000 prize, they did receive $50,000.

In an email response thanking those who voted, Gateway Greening Executive Director Gwenne Hayes-Stewart said, "We certainly do thank each and every one of you. I firmly believe GGI would be a mere shadow of an org without St. Louis Master Gardeners. Once again, you came through for us. We were up against Bay Area Food Bank, serving the gulf coast through 540 member organizations distributing food in three states and 23 counties. They are HUGE and we were the upstart small organization that met goliath head on. Thank you everyone. I doubt very seriously if we did not give them a run for the money and show significant numbers of people that cared, we would not have had a chance. We were told by the producer that filmed us locally, that as late as the day before, the Pepsi folks were only going to give the runners up 25k. Your support changed that. Thank you from the bottom of my heart."

Missouri First Lady  Tours City Seeds Urban Farm
(L - R) Annie Mayrose, Urban Agriculture Coordinator at Gateway Greening, encouraged Missouri First Lady Georgeanne Nixon to take a closer look at the beautiful salad greens being grown by St. Patrick Center's homeless and poor clients at City Seeds Urban Farm, located at 2200 Pine Street between North Jefferson & 20th Streets in downtown St. Louis.

Missouri First Lady  Tours City Seeds Urban Farm
Gateway Greening staff Annie Mayrose (left) and Gwenne Hayes-Stewart (right) led Missouri First Lady Georgeanne Nixon on a tour of the City Seeds Urban Farm.
Missouri First Lady  Tours City Seeds Urban Farm
Gary Shepard related enthusiastically how working at City Seeds Urban Farm had changed his life before he presented the First Lady with a basket of herbs.
Missouri First Lady Tours City Seeds Urban Farm
by Betty Moore,
ST. LOUIS, MO, (, June 22, 2010 - Missouri First Lady Georgeanne Nixon visited City Seeds Urban Farm in downtown St. Louis, Tuesday morning, June 22, during her "Power of Plants Tour."

City Seeds Urban Farm is a Gateway Greening urban agriculture partnership providing job training and therapeutic agriculture for St. Patrick Center's homeless and poor clients, while increasing production and distribution of locally grown foods. The program also trains their clients in green horticulture, while preparing them for jobs in landscaping, nurseries, gardening retailers and other green-care jobs.

During the tour, hosted by Gateway Greening, the First Lady met with City Seeds farmers (St. Patrick Center clients) and staff responsible for managing the farm and associated training programs.

She listened to the personal life-changing stories of City Seeds clients and graduates, who sat on tree stumps that formed a circle on the edge of the garden area.

"When you put the seed in the ground and you see it grow, you stand back and say, 'Did I do that?'," one of the farmers stated proudly.

Another farmer said the best part of working at the garden was that you get to taste the produce. "I had never felt the amazement of watching the plants grow until I did the seeding program with Gateway Greening. I can't wait to see all these plants go in the ground for the schools and the community gardens like Bell Garden."

When the First Lady asked if they have any problems with squirrels eating the produce, the group quickly responded in unison that they had rabbits. "But we also have hawks who take care of the rabbits," laughed one of the farmers, pointing skyward to a couple of hawks circling overhead.

Mrs. Nixon was also presented with a basket of herbs by Gary Shepard, who has worked at City Seeds Urban Farm for the past three months. She said the herbs will go into a garden that was started last year at the Governor's Mansion in Jefferson City. "About 70,000 school children come through each year and we tell them that at the the time the house was built, there would have been a garden like this and everybody would have been doing a little something. It's a joy to see how this program has helped the City of St. Louis," she said with a warm smile.

In an interview following the tour, Mrs. Nixon explained her personal interest in bringing attention to the power of plants that provide good health and nutrition. "My interest in gardening came about because of my mother who always had something growing. It gave me the love of plants and outdoors and I've tried to pass that on to the next generation."

Reflecting on the stories she had heard first hand, Mrs. Nixon said, "I think it puts us in touch with natural seasons and cycles and it always inspires us to be more productive. It's a calming and inspiring influence to see the magic of how a plant is produced from a little seed as one gentleman spoke about today."

Bill Ruppert, Board Member and Chair of the Gateway Greening Civic Greening Committee, commented that the City Seeds Urban Farm really changes the lives of the clients who come through the St. Patrick's Center. "They work and learn about horticulture. It's really more than vegetables. They learn about landscape practices and we've been able to place some of our graduates with some of the landcare companies that take care of landscapes throughout the St. Louis area. It really encourages an emerging labor force that we never had before in our green industry."

Ruppert stated that the produce grown serves St. Patrick's McMurphy's Grill, one of their functioning restaurants. He proudly noted that this season, City Seeds Urban Farm farmers are selling their fresh produce at three area farmers' markets: Maplewood Farmers' Market, Tower Grove Farmers' Market and Downtown Farmers' Market at the Old Post Office Plaza.

City Seeds Urban Farm will soon expand to include St. Patrick Center veteran clients. The U.S. Department of Labor announced last week that it has awarded St. Patrick Center a grant of $146,248 to provide the agency's veteran clients with GO! Green training.

Missouri First Lady  Tours City Seeds Urban Farm
Missouri First Lady Georgeanne Nixon listened to the personal life-changing stories of City Seeds clients and graduates, who sat on tree stumps that formed a circle on the edge of the City Seeds Urban Farm.

Archived St. Louis Community News and Information:
Red Dot"Cool Down St. Louis" Distributes New Air Conditioners to Needy St. Louis Families
Red DotSt. Louis is Tenth in Nation in Volunteering
Red DotThe School's Out Café Opens for the Summer
Red DotGov. Nixon Signs Bill Reforming Missouri's DWI Laws
Red DotGov. Nixon Signs Bills to Benefit Missouri Veterans and Families
Red DotGrace Hill Celebrates the Historic Mary Meachum Freedom Crossing
Red DotKingdom House Receives Funding for Youth Programs
Red DotHome Farming Movement Creates Community Farm in St. Louis Neighborhood
Red DotArson Can Threaten Health and Vitality of Neighborhoods and Communities
Red DotSt. Louis Cardinals to Host Green Week
Red DotSt. Louis City Partners with Boeing for 2010 Open Streets
Red DotWalk Run 'n Roll for People of All Abilities
Red DotMissouri's Second Show-Me Green Sales Tax Holiday
Red DotIt's Not too Late to Fill Out and Turn in Your 2010 Census Form
Red DotWalmart Foundation Funds Meals On Wheels
Red DotForeclosure-Relief Business Finally Shut Down
Red DotHibernian Parade Puts Spotlight on St. Louis' Irish American Community
Red DotAldermen to Hold Final Public Hearing for Input on Potential Elimination of Earnings Tax
Red DotSt. Louis City Announces New Procedure to Protect Unattended Property, Keep Parks Clean
Red DotHardee's 10th Annual Rise and Shine for Heat Raises More Than $85,000
Red DotLife Skills Receives $20,000 Grant from Verizon
Red DotGateway to College National Network Expands Programs
Red Dot41st St. Louis Observation Honors Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Red DotCity of St. Louis and County Donors Give Big Boost to Heat-Up St. Louis
Red DotAnheuser-Busch Employees Donate $225,000 to Three Local Charities
Red DotSt. Louis Receives Award for Municipal Excellence from the National League of Cities

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