Washington University in St. Louis is sponsoring a sustainable land lab competition where teams are invited to propose innovative projects that would transform vacant lots in the City of St. Louis into sustainable assets. 

Out of 48 initial submissions, fifteen were chosen to move on to Round 2. Mackey Mitchell architect and principal John Burse, along with landscape architect Jim Fedderman, and chef/restaurateur Ben Poremba submitted an entry titled “The Bistro Box.” which made the second round. Their concept is a small business incubator that transforms surplus cargo containers into a compact restaurant and culinary destination. Young chef entrepreneurs seeking to establish a reputation apply for a 1-year fellowship residence. A consortium of established local chefs advise young chefs and help promote the concept.  The program is designed to hire and train young people from the neighborhood in culinary skills using locally sourced products. The preferred site for this project is Montgomery Street in North St. Louis, located near Old North Grocery Store where garden and local employment opportunities can be provided for Haven of Grace residents.