Known & Grown exists to help farmers within the St. Louis foodshed spread the word about their practices, their products, and the principles that ground their work.

Known & Grown STL is a project of Missouri Coalition for the Environment, on behalf of the St. Louis Food Policy Coalition.

(314) 727-0600
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What we choose to eat is no longer seen as neutral. In recent years, our food purchasing and consumption habits have increasingly been characterized as decisions that carry moral ramifications. Consumers are increasingly focused on knowing who produces our food, were they fairly compensated, what land stewardship practices are employed on food-producing operations, is the welfare of livestock valued, and how many “food miles” are between the farm and our plates.

Tyrean Lewis, founder and president of Heru Urban Farming and Garden, welcomed me to his garden on Maffitt Avenue with a warm smile, a firm handshake, and a quick tour of the property. What had once been an empty lot was now a beautifully rich garden. Even with winter fast approaching and the summer crops beginning to die off, bees fly around, neighborhood cats stop in for visits, and new plants begin to sprout up out of the ground.

Throughout human history, at least up until the 20th Century, this question has had a fairly straightforward answer: the land around us. To ask that question now is to invite all of the confusion and existential anxiety that a post-industrial society can offer, which is why mostly we don’t ask it. Our supermarket shelves are loaded with avocados from California and Mexico, peppers from Peru, and beef from New Zealand; and the labels on each product outnumber the flags from the countries of origin. That’s assuming there are labels at all. If we go out to eat, whether at the fanciest steakhouse or Steak N’ Shake, the source of our dinner remains shrouded in a thick fog of mystery, so potentially shameful that it demands an equally nefarious policy; don’t ask, don’t tell.