Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

St. Louis Science Center's New GROW Exhibit Comes Alive

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

St. Louis Science Center's New GROW Exhibit Comes Alive

Article excerpt

Bert Vescolani, president and CEO of the St. Louis Science Center, grew up around farms in East Lansing, Mich. It should come as no surprise, then, that he's enthralled by the Science Center's newest permanent exhibit, GROW, which focuses on connecting people to agriculture and the food they eat every day.

He hopes GROW will help visitors both urban and rural better understand agriculture through hands-on exhibits and activities. When the exhibit opens June 18, it will be the Science Center's largest expansion since its inception, as well as the first new permanent exhibit since 1991.

The concept behind GROW is simple but direct.

"We want to tell that story about where (food) comes from, how it gets from the farm all the way to your table, and tell it in a way that only we can tell, which is the science story," Vescolani says.

GROW will tell that story over more than 1 acre of space, previously occupied by the Exploradome. The exhibit includes more than 40 activities for visitors, as well as two classrooms for student groups.

The GROW pavilion is the centerpiece of it all. Designed by internationally renowned St. Louis architect Gyo Obata, the pavilion will house activities describing the plant pollination process, a game centered on agricultural economics and a seed library for local backyard farmers to use.

Vescolani describes the library as a kind of exchange system. Let's say you grow a great tomato in your backyard. You can take your seeds to the Science Center, where they'll be available for others in the community to grow their own tomatoes, just as tasty as yours.

Outside the pavilion there's plenty to see and do. There will be a space detailing craft beer and wine fermentation, a working combine tractor, activities involving water usage and sustainability, and crops such as corn and soybeans. Chickens will live in the exhibit space, too, and the Science Center hopes to bring in other animals on occasion. …

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