Our City Farm Brings Agriculture to Urban St. Louis [PHOTOS]

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       Braulio Villarreal at Our City Farm. | Madelaine Azar
  •        Braulio Villarreal at Our City Farm. | Madelaine Azar

Last year, Jeri Villarreal did the unthinkable: She turned a vacant lot on Delmar Boulevard into a thriving, chemical-free garden and farm. Villarreal and her family raise all-natural chickens and grow heirloom and exotic produce at Our City Farm. The lot often surprises passersby; it seems out of place, but delightfully so.

See also: -EarthDance Farms: A Model of Sustainability in Ferguson [PHOTOS] -Baetje Farms Cheese -- and the Folks (and Goats) Who Make It [PHOTOS] -Midwest Pasta Company on Cherokee Street: Fresh-Made Noodles in Pixels

       Madelaine Azar
  •        Madelaine Azar

When Gut Check visited Our City Farm (4539 Delmar Boulevard, 314-282-5290), we weren't even sure we'd found it at first, surrounded by concrete. But the thriving farm is less than an acre of oasis in the middle of St. Louis. Villarreal farms with her husband, Carlos, but that day two teenage boys were volunteering (we were surprised, too) and playing with her young son, Braulio. Our City Farm provides its produce, eggs and poultry through an extended CSA that runs six months out of the year. The Villarreals are planning to expand into an adjacent vacant lot, where they'll plant seedlings and build a small chicken coop. The most refreshing thing about it, though, was the feeling that Our City Farm is becoming a unifying force in the community. Volunteer, sign up for the CSA and learn more at their website here.

Continue for more photos.

       Madelaine Azar
  •        Madelaine Azar

This is Jeri Villarreal's second season at Our City Farm.

       Madelaine Azar
  •        Madelaine Azar

Heirloom potatoes, as well as tomotoes, are sold at the Tower Grove Farmers' Market.

     Madelaine Azar
  •      Madelaine Azar

Our City Farm also supplies produce for CSAs, or Community Supported Agriculture, which provides custom boxes of locally sourced food to participating households.

       Madelaine Azar
  •        Madelaine Azar

The urban farm started out as the Villarreal's backyard garden.

       Madelaine Azar
  •        Madelaine Azar

Freckled lettuce makes an appearance.

       Madelaine Azar
  •        Madelaine Azar

Our City Farm's herbs, like rosemary, thyme, oregano and parsley, are available virtually year-round.

       Madelaine Azar
  •        Madelaine Azar

The farm seems at odds with its urban surroundings, but is thriving.

       Madelaine Azar
  •        Madelaine Azar

Community members help out on Our City Farm.

       Madelaine Azar
  •        Madelaine Azar

Another fresh, naturally grown item: chard!

       Madelaine Azar
  •        Madelaine Azar

Our City Farm also holds workshops -- there's a kids' potato dig July 27!

Gut Check is always hungry for tips and feedback. Email the author at nancy.stiles@riverfronttimes.com or follow her on Twitter.


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