Sarah Baxendell, director of the Hilltop Urban Farm, points to the land set aside for (Photo by Teake Zuidema/PublicSource)

What does Pittsburgh’s Hilltop Urban Farm need to do to mitigate a food desert? Access to healthy food may only be a start.

It was raining nonstop, but that didn’t seem to have any effect on Sarah Baxendell’s enthusiasm as she showed visitors the future site of the Hilltop Urban Farm in Pittsburgh’s St. Clair neighborhood.

The 23-acre farm will grow food to sell, but its creators at the Hilltop Alliance are also planning to teach youth about agriculture and create a new generation of urban farmers. The farm will spin off into a stand-alone organization, and its staff hopes to transform what is now a food desert into an area “abundant with access to healthy food,” according to the farm’s website.

Hill District, Squirrel Hill housing projects first to split $1 million from Pittsburgh’s Housing Opportunity Fund

The Urban Redevelopment Authority board voted Thursday to disburse $1 million in loans from the Housing Opportunity Fund for two rehabilitation projects. The action comes a year after Pittsburgh City Council voted to allocate $10 million for the fund and one day after council began reversing a plan to steeply cut city funding for the authority.