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City Takes Steps To Make Community's Urban Farming Dream Come True

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ST. CLAIR (KDKA) -- The St. Clair Village apartments were torn down in 2010, but instead of leaving a vacant lot, people in the area started dreaming.

Years of hard work paid off Thursday as the city took steps to make those dreams come true.

Instead of emptiness, the community saw sprawling farm land, fresh grown food and energy efficient homes.

"You've taken a place that was vacant, blighted and turned it into something positive," Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said.

Seeds of hope were planted for the new Hilltop Farm and Homes plan, located in the city's St. Clair neighborhood, bordered by Arlington, Mount Oliver and Carrick.

"I can't imagine the last time that a mayor had the opportunity to cut a ribbon on a farm in the city of Pittsburgh, and not just a farm, but the largest urban farm in America," Mayor Bill Peduto said.

It will be a place where young people can not only learn about urban farming, but families can live and prosper in the 120 townhomes that will be built along the farmland and orchards.

"We have very few areas where we have a very large green footprint that we can actually preserve and be able to use it as an opportunity to teach kids, to be able to provide healthy food to a neighborhood, to be able to use as an urban agricultural, basically, experiment," Peduto said.

The farm project will give an area often facing food access challenges a reliable source of fresh produce.

Community planners think it will be a place many people will want to live.

"To put the largest urban farm in the country right here, just a couple of miles from downtown Pittsburgh, is an exciting thing," Fitzgerald said.

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