Urban Farms Take Part in 2012 Crop Mob
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — As part of an effort to make the food we eat healthier, sustainable and affordable — leaders in both Kansas City, Kan., and Kansas City, Mo., are encouraging more farming in urban neighborhoods. Urban farmers in some of the poorest neighborhoods are growing, eating and selling their own food.
“It’s good eating,” said Erika Bush, a resident of the Juniper Gardens housing project in Kansas City, Kan. “It’s good living. And if you’re trying to cut costs on your grocery bills and things like that, it helps with that too.”
People like Bush say they’re fighting hunger and promoting good health. It all centers on growing their own food. This is part of World Food Day being commemorated this week, — a celebration of healthier eating through home-grown, sustainable gardening.
“I would like to see it grow,” Bush said. “I would like to turn every corner and see little community gardens here and there, popping up.”
In the heart of Juniper Gardens, there are nine acres of land that produce all kinds of vegetables sold at area farmer’s markets and to local restaurants. Bush has her own plot where she plants garlic. In the summertime, she says she and her kids feel healthier, eating broccoli and cucumbers that she grows.
“It saves me about $60 a month on my vegetables,” Bush said. “Because in the summertime I grow tomatoes, lettuce, peppers, bell peppers, eggplants, greens — a lot of things we eat.”
The goal of Food Day is to encourage more people in cities to grow their own organic food. Proponents claim it’s safer to eat and helps reduce obesity by keeping people active in their gardens. And in the heart of Kansas City, Kan., fresh produce would be hard to find if people didn’t grow it themselves.
“It offers a needed amenity for the neighborhoods that don’t have, within close reach, access to fresh food right now,” said Mayor Joe Reardon of the Unified Government in KCK. “We hope to be improving on that. We got an RFP (request for proposals) out to get some new development for a grocery store, but this offers an opportunity for those to grow their own food. We see that every single day.”
Refugees new to America also use urban growing to turn their farming skills into small businesses, selling organic, home-grown foods at markets to people who will pay. Mayor Reardon says everyone in the city wins when people grow, harvest and eat fresh food.
On Saturday there’s a Crop Mob scheduled, where volunteers gather to work on one of the urban farms, see what it’s like, and learn about establishing their own.
The 2012 Food Day Crop Mob will be Saturday, Oct. 27, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at more than 15 urban farms and gardens across the metro area. As volunteer requests come in, your group will be matched with a farmer or community garden coordinator where you will lend a hand during the Crop Mob. If you would like to coordinate a group of volunteers, or would like to sign up to lend a hand yourself, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information:
· Your name
· Your phone number
· The group you are representing (if applicable)
· How many volunteers in your group (if applicable)
· The age of your volunteers (youth, teens, adults)
· Are any geographic areas of the city preferable?
Cultivate KC is working to build a spirit of cooperation among farmers and community members. The Crop Mob brings back the spirit of a barn raising; it brings back loyalty and strength to our communities.