Final Report for FNC06-634

Urban Farming

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2006: $5,017.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2009
Region: North Central
State: Kansas
Project Coordinator:
Beverly Pender
Soul & Soil Rainbow Gardens
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Project Information

Summary:

PROJECT BACKGROUND
I have 4 vacant lots that I now own and 4 vacant lots that are donated, all lots are in my community. The lots total about 2 acres. I grow a variety of vegetables; my specialty is heirloom vegetables (tomatoes). In 2007 and 2008 I started selling eggs and meat chickens. All chickens are free range. My farm is urban and owned and operated by me. With the chickens I partnered with a lady in Kansas. Before this grant I had been selling my produce at farmers markets three days a week also I have a home vegetable stand. I started at the markets in about 2001 with KCK Green Market.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION AND RESULTS
Soul and Soil Rainbow Gardens is building a community food system in which farmers and eaters know and trust each other. Our networking enables us to share our knowledge and experience. Our focus is the future generations as well as our locally owned businesses and community. We partner with other urban farmers and organizations to educate the public about health and ecological benefits of a small scale local organic, free range food system.

PROCESS
Sell more CSA programs – build home market. The goal is to increase productivity and promote sustainable agriculture. Reach out to senior generations, they possess a wealth of knowledge, they seem to be more flexible and don’t get stressed out and more willing to volunteer. Become active in community and market meetings – this helps to build a coalition – share concerns recruit more volunteers. Hand out brochures – this will measure the public response, give you exposure. Host farm tours – this is the time to share knowledge, more exposure, introduce yourself to the public – get potential customers. Request fee back and measure progress

PEOPLE
1) Carey Sterrett, cross line community outreach coordinator – cross line provided community service volunteers and homeless paid workers.
2) Mr. Mishka, Wyandatte County Works – provided youth volunteers the first year and paid the next
3) YWCA – endorse sustainable practices for the health of our youth (newsletters, recipes and classes)
4) Ted Carey, K-State extension (Growing Growers) – soil testing, plastic for green house and cold frame
5) KCCUA, Katherine Kelly – help with promoting my farm and classes about CSA (Growing Growers)
6) Kansas Soil and Water Conservation – helping me to be USDA Certified and water conservation
7) Erica Wright, with Missouri extension – is how I got my first chickens
8) J-14 Farms, Joe Jennings – build chicken house
9) Craig Valland and Dave Lawrence (The KC Food Circle) – helped me with advertising and farmers expo events
10) KC Star newspaper – help every year sale CSA subscriptions and advertising, promote urban farming
11) SARE conference November 3, 2007 in Missouri

RESULTS
Soul and Soil Rainbow Gardens name is out among the public, as a organic grower versus conventional growers. Advertisement and education has addressed consumers concern about quality food. It also has increased demand for locally grown produce. Soul and Soil Rainbow Garden is meeting those demands. We started a home neighborhood market to increase more foot traffic during the week. Also we increased productivity, growing and selling more produce, dairy products, wholesale transplants, fresh fruit and CSA. We continue to sell at our local city markets to keep our customers – also to sustain a current income level. I’m happy and pleased to share the knowledge and benefits of locally grown organic – free range food. I don’t know what I would do different when things come up I do my best. If anything I wanted to do more.

DISSCUSION
I learned how to build relationships and increase productivity, the benefits of education and community support with school – organizations. Educating city folks is not only rewarding but an opportunity I look forward to. People are surprised at what can be done on vacant land.

For the past ten years I have been an urban farmer in Kansas City Kansas. The Soul and Soil Rainbow Gardens farm has been established to help local youth, seniors and others learn about gardening and food production. We build relationships with the public through the CSA. The people in my community and supporters have successfully allowed me to maintain and expand Soul and Soil Rainbow Garden farm.

OUTREACH
1) Farm tours every two years along with food demonstrations. First year about 60 people attended, the second year 120 people attended plus chiefs did demos.
2) Help started three community gardens – six people
3) Kansas City Star and Kansas City Kansan papers interview
4) Listed on website KCCIA, Food Circle Directory, Grit magazine
5) SARE conference 2007, November – Columbia, SARE conference KC Missouri
6) Radio talk show – advertisement – public awareness
7) Partner with others – host farm expos in city
8) Neighborhood meeting, city meetings
9) Markets – KCK, Merrian – Nartlo KS – Zona Rasse

Research

Participation Summary
Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.