US: New project to bring hydroponics and aquaponics to Missouri town

South Side Farms, located at the corner of West End Boulevard and Walnut in Cape Girardeau, will begin ground clearing this week, weather permitting. The urban farm, housing, childcare and education project received unanimous approval from the Cape Girardeau City Council on November 15, 2021. Championed by Saint Francis Healthcare System, South Side Farms will operate as an independent Missouri 501-C3 nonprofit with support from the local community, residents and leaders of south Cape.

“South Side Farms will address population health issues, improve social determinants of health and equip our community for powerful generational change,” said Jimmy Wilferth, Vice President of Foundation and Marketing at Saint Francis and project leader. “It is exciting to see how the plan has come together, primarily with the input and direction from those it will impact most. Over the next 18 months, we will see the project come to life for the residents of south Cape, by the residents of south Cape.”

Designated a state “Opportunity Zone” and “Federal Food Desert,” there are no grocery stores south of Highway 74, leading to food insecurity for many residents. South Side Farms will primarily address expanding access to healthy, nutritious food through an urban farming operation, complete with fresh food (hydroponics, aquaponics, field crops, eggs, honey and milk), farmer’s market/grocery, restaurant, food incubator and more.

“Our Mission compels us to care for others outside the walls of our Healthcare System,” said Dr. Maryann Reese, President and Chief Executive Officer of Saint Francis. “We feel this project is a tangible expression of our Mission and Ministry, and an excellent opportunity to improve the health and wellbeing of the communities we are called to serve.”

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