Urban Farming

2007 Annual Report for FNC06-634

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

Urban Farming

Summary

WORK ACTIVITES
We have six lots in Kansas City, Kansas. On the lots we grow peas, tomatoes, beets, peaches, apples, cherries, pears, etc. This year we sold our produce at four different markets: KCK Green market (Wednesday), Merriam Farmers Market (Saturday), North Kansas City Market (Friday), and Crossline Community Market (Monday). This year we started our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program and we had two customers.

This year I also bought four new lots from Kansas City, Kansas Land Bank. All four lots will have to be cleared and be prepared for planting for 2008. The property will be soil tested, compost added, and hopefully be ready by May or June to be used by kids from Wyandotte Works (WYCO) and YMCA in 2008. [Editor’s Note: Wyandotte Works is a comprehensive career training, placement, and retention program serving Wyandotte County.]

THIS YEAR
January 2007
– We rented greenhouse space from KCCUA (Kansas City Center for Urban Agriculture)
– Ordered onion plants, organic tomato seed, and organic potato plants.
– 2 tons of organic chicken manure

February 2007
– Ordered seeds (Morgan County Seed Company)
– Planned and designed brochures, flyers, and business cards
– Started 21 trays of vegetables in greenhouse and two weeks later started 21 more trays
– Held meeting with WYCO Works and YWCA and Crosslines Community Outreach. During this meeting we planned the work schedules for paid workers and volunteers.

March 2007
– Printed flyers and brochures
– Cleaned and built greenhouse at farm (S&S)
– Ordered and spread organic manure (KCCUA)
– Ordered last of seeds for summer crops. We needed to have two sets of seeds because we plant twice a year and harvest vegetables until November.
– Prepared and planned for expo in April. At this expo we sell plants and CSA, also this provides cash money to help with garden expenses.
– We also prepared for the Lawn and Garden Show at Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Kansas.
– We started planting on four of our lots. We planted spinach, lettuce, greens, radishes, cabbage. This also provided income because we advertised a U-Pick operation in the local newspaper.

April 2007
– Interviewed volunteers
– Spread manure – compost and rototilled this mixture into the ground.
– Started herbs and flowers in the greenhouse. We moved out of KCCUA and had our own greenhouse finished by the middle of April. This saved a greenhouse bill.
– We made our own potting soil for plants.
– We started new plants throughout the year to sell at markets and for smaller farmers who needed plants.
– At the end of the month, Crossline started their own community garden so we lost most of our adult helpers.
– We added two workers from the homeless shelters in Kansas City, KS.
– Frost hit us hard this year in late April. We had to start some vegetables all over again.

May 2007
– Purchased tools for workers and kids to use.
– Ordered outdoor bathrooms because I was told I would be working with 22 kids and volunteers from YWCA and 10 kids and one volunteer from WYCO Works, plus I had two workers.
– Attended farmers expo.
– Prepared for farm tour on June 24th.

June 2007
– Kids started coming out to farm. They will be here from June until August, 3 days a week from 10 am to 3 pm. YWCA kids come for two weeks in June, one day each and one time in July and August. During this time the kids will learn how to start plants, weed gardens, plant, harvest, how to use a rototiller and prepare vegetables for market. They also attended the market and sold produce. Each week we have a cooking class and we eat what we grow.

JUNE – JULY – AUGUST – SEPTEMBER – OCTOBER – NOVEMBER
During this time we are all planting, weeding, harvesting, and selling. Just things that have to be done during the year.

We lost Andrew Thomas in August. He left one day and never came back. He was one of our homeless workers. Then we lost Debbie, a student at KCK Community Junior College. But we still made it through the year.

We made up and delivered 185 food bundles to senior citizens this year starting November 5 and ended November 19. Wilson Hall Sr., age 70, built our greenhouse. Earnestine Collins volunteered for all our events and sold tickets. Carolyn Marks helped with the kids with different tasks. Mishkat Az-Zbair helped with different skills like showing up on time, how to follow directions, work safety on farm, how to sell yourself and your produce. We also had culinary arts students from Johnson Co. Community Junior College for cooking. They did a demo using our produce.

I also met with the Unified Government Board about vacant land to be used for farming in Wyandotte County. Our story about urban farming was published in the magazine Dirt in the Jan/Feb 2008 issue page 46. It is a very good story. The kids are proud of what they did this year and two have called me and are ready to go in 2008.

Mr. Sublett is my neighbor who has the tractor and he turns the ground for us and makes rows each year. We will also be listed this year and next in Food Circle magazine in a list of organic growers.