Much is written about the farm-to-table movement, but most of the spotlight goes to the restaurants who utilize the practice to create yummy, well-sourced culinary dishes, rather than the farmers who produce it. Earthdance has infused the local restaurant scene all over the region with their produce, and are the perfect compliment to the many talented chefs of the area. “We buy some really incredible organic produce from EarthDance Farms,” says Vicia co-owner Tara Gallina. “They have allowed us to continue our mission of supporting small local farms on our ever-changing menus at Vicia.”
It’s also an added bonus that buying produce from Earthdance means supporting their efforts to educate the St. Louis community and future farmers through their many hands-on programs. They offer a variety of ways for the community to get involved, including a six-month part-time apprenticeship in which participants get a crash course in organic farming. For the more casual urban farmer, there are year-round workshops and classes for all ages throughout the year. If you or your little one is interested in nurturing a green thumb, the workshops and classes are a great way to get involved. EarthDance, above all else, is a teaching farm, where there is joy in sharing the craft and science of organic farming with people from all walks of life. The 14-acre Ferguson farm is a model of sustainable food production, that has gone on to spawn many other farms and restaurants. Some notable past apprentices are David Blum, owner of Such & Such Farm, Julie Hollie of Ozark Forest Mushrooms, and Mary Ostafi, founder of Urban Harvest Food Roof.
It was this commitment to community that inspired Gallina to not only use EarthDance in her aforementioned James Beard-nominated restaurant, but to join the board to further support the work Earthdance does in the community. Gallina says, “I’m also proud to serve as a member of their Board of Directors and am passionate about how this teaching farm in the heart of Ferguson can really make a big impact on the health of our community.”
Even if you don’t have time to devote to classes, there are many ways to eat the fruits of their labor. Literally. Earthdance sells to St. Louis favorites like Vicia, Olio, Elaia, Elmwood, Kounter Kulture, and more. You can also find them at farmers' markets across the region. Both the Ferguson Farmers Market (every Saturday, May-October, 8am-12pm) and the Ferguson Winter Market at the Vine at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, (every third Saturday November-April, 9am-12pm) carry the produce. The Tower Grove Farmers’ Market is a city option to shop Earthdance, which opens in the coming weeks on April 23rd, and every Saturday through October, 8 am-12pm. For a complete list of what they grow, and more information on the various programs and initiatives, visit their website or Facebook page for the latest.