Community Development

Healthy food for food deserts

USDA official visits Old North St. Louis Grocery Co-op
USDA official visits successful grocery co-op in Old North St. Louis

Dr. Roger Beachy, (2nd from left), director of USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), chats with neighborhood children during a visit to Old North St. Louis Grocery Co-op in February 2011.

USDA official visits successful grocery co-op in St. Louis (MU Extension) (Video)  |  "Food deserts" and nutrition: A Q&A with USDA's Roger Beachy (Audio MP3)

Old North St. Louis Grocery Co-op
A collaboration between MU Extension and Old North St. Louis Restoration Group developed a strategy to close the food gap in the Old North St. Louis neighborhood. Residents lived in a food desert, an area lacking access to healthy, affordable foods year-round. In July 2010, that changed when the Old North St. Louis Grocery Co-op opened. It is the first co-op to open in a predominately low-income neighborhood in Missouri as a way to increase access to healthy foods, link urban consumers to rural producers, and support a neighborhood through economic and community development.


In the media:

St. Louis Healthy Corner Store Project

Due to the positive association between the retail environment and diet, communities across the country have begun working with corner stores, bodegas and rural groceries to make changes that improve both the store environment and the food inventory offered.  University of Missouri Extension launched the St. Louis Healthy Corner Store Project in 2011 through a partnership with the City of St. Louis Department of Health and the St. Louis Development Corporation.  The Healthy Corner Store Project works in cooperation with communities and corner store owners to deliver a comprehensive approach that combines community development, small-business support, nutrition education and greater availability of affordable, nutritious foods.

To learn more about the Project, click this link.

Neighborhood Leadership Academy

Class of 2013

Neighborhood Leadership Academy provides hands-on leadership training emphasizing community building principles, organizational leadership and management practices, and personal leadership skills. The program connects resources at University of Missouri-St. Louis (Community Partnership Project, Nonprofit Management and Leadership Program, and MU Extension) to residents and neighborhoods wanting to create more livable communities.

Check out what these NLA alum are up to:

Neighborhood Leadership Fellows Program

Are you interested in joining a board, getting involved in local government, or serving on a state commission? The Neighborhood Leadership Fellows (NLF), is an advanced leadership program through Creating Whole Communities representing a partnership of UMSL, MU Extension, and St. Louis Promise Zone.

NLF aims to increase North St. Louis City and County residents participation in civic decision-making tables in order to produce more equitable regional policies for neighborhoods. Training will consist of one-weekend a month educational workshops, tactical training, positional power trainings, collaborative learning, mentoring and networking opportunities.

Fellows will receive a $2000 stipend and an UMSL Chancellor’s Certificate upon completion.

Application closes November 1, each year. Program session dates, topics, and outcomes can be found on the NLF website.

Local Government Partnership

The Local Government Partnership is a cooperative effort between University of Missouri-St. Louis, MU Extension and East-West Gateway Council of Governments. The program provides technical advice to local government, conducts training programs for local officials, encourages collaboration and cooperation with local governments, teaches and advises students interested in local government careers.

UMSL Community Partnership Project Seminar Series

The UMSL Community Partnership Project ‘What’s Brewing?’ Series links UM-St. Louis faculty research and practice and promotes sharing of information and ideas on issues impacting St. Louis neighborhoods.  Ask to have your name added to the e-mail distribution list by emailing Claira at


Claire Wolff, MSW 
Community Development Specialist
MU Extension St. Louis Urban Region
132 E Monroe Ave, Kirkwood, MO  63122
p/f 314-516-6392 •

Like us on  Find us on Facebook Facebook
Follow us on  Find us on Twitter Twitter