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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Urban Farm Co-Op is getting creative to overcome a massive set back this summer.

Two months ago, someone broke into the co-op’s locked garden and stole the group’s trailer that had roughly $20,000 worth of farming equipment inside.

That makes it hard for the city’s largest black-owned orchard and its long list of adult and youth volunteers to do much of anything around the orchard.

“We can come out here and pick trees,” said volunteer Angelo Dixon. “There’s not much at all that we can do. We can’t plant, dig, anything like that.”

He’s come a long way since he started coming to the Urban Farm Co-Op as little more than something to keep him busy over the summer. Once he learned about planting, growing, and preparing his own food, he got hooked.

“It’s a different feeling when you’ve eaten food that you’ve grown,” said Dixon. “When I grow up, I want to be a chef. So, I really have a deep appreciation for the things that I grow and pick the stuff here.”

The problem is: the tools he and the rest of the volunteers need to tend to the plants and land were in the stolen trailer.

“This here for the community and we’re doing this for the community so if you needed something, you could just ask,” Dixon said.

The theft makes it harder for the community to grow more than just fruits and vegetables.

“With that organic food, it also provides a gateway to educating people on why it’s important to eat organic, why it’s important to learn how to farm, why it’s important to be self-sustainable,” said Kansas City Urban Farm Co-Op manager Nicolette Paige.

A GoFundMe page has raised about $5,000 so far, but the Urban Farm Co-op is getting creative to try to get enough money to replace what was taken.

On September 10, 2022, the co-op is hosting A Night at the Orchard, with food and live music in their garden, as a fundraiser to try to close the financial gap to their $20,000 goal.

The Co-op is trying to keep growing after theft that might otherwise kill their spirit.

“Having the kids being here, it helps them stay busy with something that doesn’t just feed their mind, it also feeds their soul,” Paige said.

You can find the group’s GoFundMe page here.

You can find information about their fundraiser here.

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