ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Where does our food come from? That’s the focus of a new permanent exhibit coming to the Saint Louis Science Center.

GROW will be the first major permanent addition since 1991. The 1-acre agriculture exhibit will be located on the site of the former Exploradome.

Science Center president Bert Vescolani says the exhibit will be open year-round to follow the seasons and stages of food production.

The $7.3 million project is expected to open in summer 2016.

The following information was released from the Science Center:

The Saint Louis Science Center is announcing the development of a new permanent agriculture exhibition that will engage visitors in the future of our food supply, and inspire the next generation of farmers, scientists, engineers and agriculture professionals.

This one acre exhibit, titled GROW, greatly extends the Science Center footprint and incorporates a permanent outdoor learning space with interactive exhibits and activities, in addition to permanent classrooms housed in a pavilion designed by globally renowned architect Gyo Obata. GROW will be open year round, to follow the changing seasons and stages of food production, distribution and consumption.

GROW will be the first major addition of a permanent exhibit by the Saint Louis Science Center since 1991, when the main building of the facility (located at 5050 Oakland Avenue) was built. The $7.3 million project, which the Science Center expects to open in summer 2016, will be on the former Exploradome site, which held temporary exhibits until it was deflated in 2013.

This unique suite of exhibits will be the only one of its kind in the United States, and will allow students, adults and families from across the St. Louis metropolitan area and beyond, to enjoy a fun, science-based experiential journey of food from farm to fork. Educators and students of all grade levels will have an immersive learning experience in which the concepts of chemistry, economics and life sciences are presented across different scenarios and seasons. Individuals of all ages, whether they are from rural, suburban or urban communities, will participate in activities and programs that are fun, educational and interactive.

“The global population will increase from 7 billion to 9 billion by 2050, which could require a 70% increase in global agricultural production. Food underpins our day-to-day life and is only becoming more important, and our exhibit addresses the critical local, regional and global issues related to our food supply,” said Saint Louis Science Center President and CEO Bert Vescolani. “We are fulfilling our commitment to ignite and sustain life-long science and technology learning by inviting visitors to explore the connections between themselves, agriculture and the food supply, and teaching children and adults to act as stewards for future sustainability.”

GROW introduces and supports content related to agriculture, agronomics, and plant and animal biology, highlighted through the different personal connections visitors have to the food they eat. Exhibit spaces include:

Your Journey Begins: An introduction to farming in the Missouri-Illinois region, including interviews with local farmers.
Agriculture Pavilion: The economics and technology behind transporting food from farm to fork, and how farming influences local and world cultures and economies.
Water and Weather: How water and rain are some of the most precious resources to farmers, and how farmers use both traditional and modern technology to maximize water efficiency.
How Plants Work: How the inner workings of plants harvest energy from the sun to support all life on Earth.
Farming Today: Real world farming from big machines and live animals to state-of-the-art technology.
The Greenhouse: Learn about a working commercial aquaponic farm, while completing projects with others
Fermentation Station: Participate in demonstrations and sample a variety of food and beverages, including cheese, wine, and beer
DIY Farming: Get dirty and create your own personal farming experience.

“We intend GROW to cultivate agricultural knowledge by helping people dig deeper and satisfy their curiosity about something that impacts them every day of their lives,” said Vescolani. “Science, technology, engineering and mathematics play a large role in the American agriculture industry. By helping people understand the science behind crops, plants, animals and weather, and how all these elements combine to form a system, we’re preparing future generations with knowledge that can be used to innovate and sustain our food supply.”

Gyo Obata, Arcturis, and Gyroscope have teamed up with Science Center staff to design this unique combination of plants, buildings and amazing new experiences. The general contractor is Interface Construction, SWT Design will perform architectural landscaping, and USA Exhibits will fabricate some of the more than 40 new exhibits.

More information about GROW may be found at slsc.org/GROW.

(TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be upblished, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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