The Green House Venture

In a Nutshell

The Green House Venture is a project proposed by St. Louis University, the Shaw neighborhood, and the Urban Education Alliance District.  The Venture will be an 8,000 square foot science education and outreach facility, to be located at the corner of Lawrence and DeTony Street in the Shaw neighborhood of south St. Louis.  The Venture is seeking to raise $4,000,000 for the construction of the facility.

Project Information


The focal point of the Green House Venture is an 8,000-square-foot science education and outreach center that will contain a greenhouse,  classrooms, an amphitheater, a children’s growing gallery, fish tanks, food preparation kitchen and a teaching lab, all designed to stimulate an interest in science, urban food production, community engagement, sustainability and economic development.

Inside the facility, the Venture will demonstrate a number of sophisticated aquaponic growing techniques involving fish breeding, plant fertilization from fish tanks, soilless beds, and vertical growing.  Outside, it will feature a weather station,an ozone garden, a shade trellis, a climbing fruit garden, a pollinator garden, and lightweight aeroponic growing on a roof-top terrace.  Sustainability features of the facility include geo-thermal heating, water conservation methods, composting and solar panels.

Across DeTonty Street on the Interstate 44 hillside, will be a series of raised terraces for growing native Missouri crops and exploring the feasibility of producing food on unused roadsides. In addition to on-site educational activities, portable school kits will be made available for teachers to take back to their classrooms.

To expand the availability and impact of the Venture, the facility will be equipped with advanced communication technology capabilities that will make programs accessible to other schools in the metropolitan area through online videos and live streaming of teaching sessions.   Venture leaders view this outreach component as a vital part of a broader vision to establish similar facilities and educational partnerships throughout the St. Louis region.


The Project is Founded on a collaboration between Saint Louis University and four schools: St. Margaret of Scotland, Mullanphy-Botanical Garden, Tower Grove Christian, and the Saint Louis Language Immersion schools.

The greenhouse will serve elementary-school children in the Urban Education Alliance District and in under-served schools in the St. Louis area.

With support from Saint Louis University's School of Education, teachers will be able to:

Visit. Classes from Alliance schools will come once each week to the facility for eight-week growing encounters. Participating schools throughout St. Louis will bring in children for field trips and will be able to check out equipment for their own classrooms.

Distance Learn. Schools everywhere will be able to access on-line videos produced by the greenhouse and to stream live lessons from the facility.

From the start, teachers have been intimately involved in designing the facility and its programs, with three guiding visions:

Teachers teaching teachers
Teachers will devise their own lesson plans and curricula, with materials and support from the School of Education and the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics at Saint Louis University. They will share their most successful ideas through informal exchanges and summer workshops.

Children teaching children
Teams of children will plant, cultivate, harvest, and evaluate their own plantings, learning science, growing, and nutrition with hands in growing-beds and cooking spoons in bowls. More experienced students will teach beginners, providing models for the younger children.

Staff members and volunteers mentoring more advanced students
Committed high-school students will help with tours, after-school tutoring, and summer camps. Those with a heart for learning will be tracked, supported, and encouraged to go on to college.


Fundraising is under way.  The building and it's contents will cost an estimated $4,000,000.


The Mission of the The Green House Venture is to:

To create a nationally visible demonstration facility for year-round, sustainable, urban agriculture that instills an appreciation of the cycles and processes of nature and health, that broadens the education experience of elementary school students in the Urban Education Alliance District, that optimizes technology to remotely share its program with other interested elementary schools throughout the region, and that offers nutritious fresh produce to the community's needy.

The Green House Venture also helps to acheive the following goals and objectives of OneSTL:

OneSTL Theme: Distinctive
Goal 4: Foster active and healthy lifestyles.
     Objective: Increase access to local, fresh and healthy food.

OneSTL Theme: Educated
Goal 1: Improve overall quality of education.
     Objective: Improve quality of education at all levels.
Goal 6: Increase public understanding of sustainability and healthy lifestyle choices.
     Objective: Provide information on sustainability and climate change.
     Objective: Provide information on the importance of food choices, physical activity, alternate transportation choices and other lifestyle choices.


Tom Purcell

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