KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Kansas City urban farm is trying to change the way we think about where get our food and what our old buildings can do.
Urban Bounty Farms has moved into an old brewery in the East Bottoms, building 6,000 square feet of growing space in what is a century-old malt room.
“The idea behind Urban Bounty Farms is to take building that are around the community and repurpose them, make them useful again,” said Urban Bounty Farms Chief Farmer Lena Sleyster. “Create jobs for our community as well.”
The business launched a year ago and already is selling to local restaurants, on grocery store shelves, and donating fresh produce to local shelters and organizations that can get it to people who might not otherwise have healthy food option.
“Being able to help the community and knowing that you’re helping the community definitely puts you in a positive attitude all the time,” said Vivyan Oliver.
Oliver helps out when she’s not finishing her sophomore year in high school, as part of the small and mostly-family effort to get Urban Bounty Farms started.
Soon, Sleyster says they’ll bring on a Veterans to operate the farm, giving them job opportunities after learning about hydroponics through local universities and colleges.
Since Urban Bounty Farms uses buildings in the urban core, their jobs are easier to get to than many other agriculture opportunities.
“Trying to create this job in places that are accessible by bus so people can get there,” Sleyster said.
Sleyster says one 3,000 square foot growing space uses about 31 gallons of recycled water a day, keep various plants healthy. She says the average shower uses between 17-21 gallons of water, showing what’s possible with the right hydroponic set up.
The facility also doesn’t need the same sprays that many farmers might use when plants grow outside.
“We don’t have the deer that might come or a rabbit that might come or a pest that might block a harvest from happening,” Sleyster said.