The Troostwood Garden is located on 1/2 acre in an urban neighborhood in Kansas City, Missouri. We have a master gardener, a director, and ten youth working in the garden. We grow organic spinach, peas, tomatoes, turnips, a variety of greens, herbs, garlic, celery, apples, pears, peaches and more. Gardening begins in March and lasts until the last vegetables are harvested, typically in late October. The climate in Kansas City usually allows our growing season to be long. Fruits and veggies are sold on site every Saturday during our growing season
PROJECT DESCRIPTION AND RESULTS
The Urban Agriculture Youth Program goal is to influence a change in our youths’ lifestyle and at the same time improve their nutrition, environment, social and economic practices.
The youths’ hands-on experience starts with tilling which prepares the ground for planting in the Spring and teaches the youths about the fruits and veggies they will be growing. Youths will learn the health benefits of eating fruits and veggies and will be able to identify fruits and vegetables they have grown.
The youth learn to compost and how great of an impact that has with the environment. This shows them how nothing goes to waste and how rotten produce can make the garden grow for the next season.
The University of Missouri, Lincoln University and Kansas State University are the three extension services that helped us by providing us with support and information. We were given information and support with things such as marketing tips, types of and causes for diseases and funguses, and how to prune fruit trees.
Kansas City Center for Urban Agricultural founders Katherine Kelly and Dan Dermitzel, who are a part of Growing Growers, and BBuilders of Knobnoster.
[Editor’s note: The following information is from the Kansas City Urban Center and Growing Growers websites.
The Kansas City Center for Urban Agriculture is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt corporation founded in 2004 by two Kansas City farmers dedicated to promoting urban agriculture in the Kansas City metropolitan area. Katherine Kelly (former owner of Full Circle Farm, Kansas City) and Daniel Dermitzel (former co-owner of Trailside Farm in Calhoun, Missouri). For more information contact:
P.O. Box 6043
Kansas City, KS 66106
Growing Growers was established to address the need for more farmers and for more effective farmers. It is a collaboration between K-State Research and Extension, University of Missouri Research and Extension, the Kansas City Food Circle (a consumer organization), and the Kansas Rural Center. The goal of the organization is to provide educational opportunities to help new growers get started and established ones get better at what they do. For more information contact:
Katherine Kelly, Program Manager
Growing Growers Program
K-State Research and Extension
35230 W 135th Street
Olathe, KS 66061
Contributors include Jim Woods of Higginsville MO, Beverly Pender of Kansas and Joe Jennings of Kansas. Water came from Kansas City Public Water.
We found that the youth developed better self esteem. They saw the fruits of their labor and how their hard work had paid off. The youth walked away with more knowledge than when they came. They now have knowledge of a garden, what it takes to have and build one, and team work. These are only a few things the youth walked away knowing more about.
We learned how much more important washing your hands and fruits and vegetables are. After all that is going on with bacterial outbreaks in our spinach, peanut butter, fruit, and chicken throughout the world, knowing your farmer and their practices is vital. By knowing your farmer you are made aware of and are able to stay on top of their practices and you have knowledge and awareness of what you are eating. The disadvantage for little farmers is that it’s hard for them to sell their produce in chain stores or restaurants. The advantage for little farmers is that we can sell on site and not have to compete with others because we are the only ones with a market or Paseo. We have worked on this project for seven years and we are still working on it. We will continue working on this for a while, a long while!
We used the 49/69 Community Newsletter along with flyers to get the word out about the garden and any activities we have in association with it.