The Sunflower+Project: StL is remediating and making productive vacant, previously developed urban lots through the cultivation and planting of sunflowers and winter wheat. These hyper-accumulators have been shown to extract lead and other contaminants contained in previously developed urban soils. The Sunflower+Project: StL looks to demonstrate and study the viability, affordability, practicality and potential for employing this strategy at the urban scale through the use of a single urban lot. The team is using Lot 4 as a learning lab and test site for the implementation of this strategy. Over the course of two years we plan to cultivate, plant, and harvest 4 crop rotations in total – two of sunflowers and two of winter wheat- with the goal of maximizing and measuring the efficacy of the remediation efforts. While the test is being performed the project will serve as a neighborhood beautification tool. See their competition proposal board here.

Check out this great video featuring their project.


The Sunflower+ Project Team hit the ground running in Spring of 2013, and has made incredible progress in implementing their proposal. The team has had one full growing season of sunflowers, one of winter wheat planted on the site, strung colorful sustainability flags across their site to bring some life to the project during the winter, and just recently planted their second crop of sunflowers from seed. They also completed the gabion benches at the front of their parcel which mark the footprints of the buildings that once stood on the site and which have made a welcoming resting place for visitors to the neighborhood.

Sunflower+ has also teamed up with Alderwoman Lyda Krewson to replicate their project – on an even larger site – on Delmar Boulevard.

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Photo credits: Richard Reilly