Food & Drink

5 Urban Grown Tour Stops to Check Out

Cultivate Kansas City’s annual Urban Grown Tour puts local growers in the limelight this weekend.

KC’s reputation isn’t the only thing growing. Throughout the metro, producers are bringing fresh food to the community, and Cultivate Kansas City’s Urban Grown Tour June 25-26 lets you visit 31 of those urban farms and gardens.

“We’re excited to engage people in the hard work of farmers supporting and carrying out our mission, which is to build a local, healthy and sustainable food system for everyone in Kansas City,” says Lily Siebert, Cultivate KC’s community outreach coordinator.

Nonprofit Cultivate KC promotes building a healthy community through locally grown food, and its small staff teaches entrepreneurial skills to future farmers through its programs and on its two farms in Kansas City, Kansas.

“People often think of farms being in wide open spaces,” says Katherine Kelly, executive director of Cultivate KC. “In Kansas City, we love that urban farm businesses are popping up in places you’d never imagine.”

The self-guided Urban Grown Tour offers a taste of urban farm businesses, school gardens, refugee training farms, and charitable gardens throughout greater Kansas City. (A bike tour is also available.)

No time to visit all 31 stops? We’ve picked five to make sure you hit.

1. Cultivate KC Food Forest. Imagined and designed by Cultivate KC co-founder Daniel Dermitzel, this quarter-acre food forest on a residential corner in Merriam is a research project now maturing into a multi-story perennial food forest that includes trees, berries, brambles and herbs.

2. Juniper Gardens Training Farm. Sixteen New Roots for Refugees farmers-in-training grow vegetables, herbs and flowers on this nine-acre farm. The New Roots program, a collaboration between Catholic Charities of NE Kansas and Cultivate Kansas City, uses a four-year curriculum that helps refugee families and bolsters the KC farming community.

3. Boys Grow. Like Juniper Gardens, Boys Grow turns urban farming into an opportunity to make an impact in the lives of Kansas Citians. Urban teens run this 10-acre farm—home to two greenhouses, orchards, a pond, chickens and goats—and help create and sell products using the items grown.

4. Nile Valley Aquaponics. Kansas City’s first commercial aquaponics greenhouse’s three trenches will hold a total of 75,000 gallons for raising fish, with vegetables being grown in multi-tier system above. The new project on 29th Street and Wabash Avenue aims to provide much needed healthy, quality food to the surrounding community.

5. KC Tomato. Keith Mueller’s KC Tomato farm is proof that you don’t need a ton of land to get growing. The Waldo resident converted his backyard into a lab for observing and developing new varieties of tomatoes.

Learn about all the Urban Grown Tour farmers and find tickets to the tour here.

Photo via New Roots for Refugees’ Facebook page.