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In April, a food produce safety workshop was held in Wichita to train growers on the importance of food safety. Nearly 30, Wichita area growers completed the eight-hour training and received their certificates of completion.  Part of trained growers that completed the training grow for Donna or other farmers markets in the area! A second training was held in August in Bonner Springs.

Kansas Farmers Union has participated the last three years, with National Farmers Union in the Local Food Safety Collaborative to deliver educational activities to meet the requirements for the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).  This summer fifteen farms have been featured in the training activities that start with tours of local farms and include educational opportunities and ideas that can be incorporated into attendee’s farms.

This October 24th event is the fifth and final produce safety tour/activity for Summer 2019. 

Please RSVP if you plan to attend the tour and evening activities. Respond to Mary Howell 785-5628726 or email Mary at kfu.mary@gmail.com

October 24th Farm Tour Agenda

Approximate times: 

1:30 pm Victory Farms – Maize, KS

Victory Gardens is located at 6145 North Maize Road in Maize, KS.  

Victory Gardens is a fifth-generation family farm operation located in Maize, Kansas. We grow heirloom vegetables from seed using only OMRI (organic) approved products and materials. All vegetables sold by Victory Gardens are grown on our farm using sustainable methods. We believe nutritionally dense vegetables, grown with the lowest carbon footprint possible, is the true measure of farming excellence.  

Bryan Mann was born into a fourth-generation farm family. Bryan grew up in western Kansas and received his undergraduate degree at Wichita State University and his medical degree from the University of Kansas Medical Center. Bryan taught and practiced medicine for 30 years.  During this time, he cultivated numerous gardens and experimented with sustainable farming methods. Bryan served as a permaculture inter at Vajra Farms (Oskaloosa, KS) prior to starting Victory Gardens in 2010. 

2:45 pm – Strong Roots Healthy Farming 

207 Fieldstone St, Valley Center KS. 67147

Cindy & Joshua Molello

Strong Roots Healthy Farming

207 Fieldstone St. 

Valley Center, KS 67147

316-227-7677

Strong Roots Healthy Farming LLC is a small, family business owned and operated out of Valley Center, Kansas. Growing produce started as a hobby for the Molello family, but it quickly became a value system as well. The benefit of seeing something grow from the earth that the whole family had worked so hard to produce became an honor. The food that we grew not only helped us put more vegetables in our daily diets, it actually tasted better than the local grocery store produce. After reaping the benefits of the harvest, even the neighbors wanted to partake in the bounty. Our small garden in Colorado became quite the community gathering place. The excitement that came from that garden encouraged us to sell our home in Colorado and move to Kansas where we could buy a bigger lot for growing. Now we are sitting on a ¾ quarter lot of land where we are learning more and more about the land, the importance of worms and organic material in the soil, beyond organic methods for growing produce, and what type of vegetables will grow and sell in the local environment.

Cindy Molello, the first owner of the company.  Working in healthcare has given her an appreciation for health and how important it is to be active, eat smarter, and be an owner of your own health.  As part owner of Strong Roots, Cindy manages most of the administrative tasks during the evenings including finances, creating documents, posting social media marketing, and researching alternative ways to make money. 

Joshua Molello, the second owner of company, works full time at Strong Roots Healthy Farming LLC. He manages most of the hard labor in the garden, researches new techniques, problem-solves for farm malfunctions, delivers product to customers, and maintains inventory levels and invoicing. He is the true face of the company. Josh came into the farming business after he realized his health was declining because of how he was eating. Learning how to grow his own health became a passion with which his whole family came to appreciate.

Strong Roots Healthy Farming LLC does three very important things for the future of Kansas and America:

  1. It heals our lands of harmful chemicals that decrease the nutrients in our food. Giving back the land natural compost, worm castings, and minerals is supporting a healthy ecology where plants thrive and provide the essential nutrients that help our bodies develop, maintain, and heal.
  2. It encourages healthy eating habits to decrease sickness and disease. Eating processed foods without nutrition that comes from the soil has hiked up healthcare costs to unsustainable amounts.
  3. It enriches the economy with local, community-based, small business. The statistics from The US Bureau for Economic Analysis in 2017 shows a decline in economy with an aging population in Kansas. We need to grow and strengthen the economy with a new, inventive way of farming.

Strong Roots Healthy Farming is also excited to launch their new concept CSA program that has four 13-week sessions for seasonal produce.  That’s right; a year-round CSA!   

4:00 pm – Legacy Gardens

945 S. Wichita 

Wichita, KS

 Legacy GardenWorks provides a place for youth to thrive as they work on our urban farm. 

We believe that gardens are better than empty lots, that teenagers thrive when given meaningful work, and that growing fresh produce can transform our community.

We hire young people from urban high schools, group home placements, and foster care and bring them together to learn about hard work, where food comes from, and how to work together as a team.

Lauren Scislowski has been the program director of GardenWorks since 2013. She lives in South Central Wichita with her family, very near the Legacy Gardens. Other passions include cooking and playing music.

5:30pm Common Ground Mobile Market 

The Center 

1914 E. 11th Street North 

Wichita. KS

Donna Pearson-McClish operates Common Ground Producers and Growers. 

The operation is unique in that it delivers fresh organic produce to senior centers, senior high-rises and mixed multiple high rises with seniors and the disabled. The idea flourished after a coordinator for a senior facility told her that while a supplemental food assistance program provided vouchers to be used at farmers markets, seniors had neither transportation nor local farmers markets, leaving them in a virtual Catch 22. And with fewer and fewer grocery stores in an expanding urban area, many seniors were trapped in a food desert without access to healthy food.

Common Ground Producers and Growers delivers fresh organic produce to senior centers, senior high-rises and mixed multiple high rises.

By the end of 2014, the year the farm began delivering, they served 11 senior centers and residences. Since then, they’ve grown to 30+ and serve three counties, and the list of centers asking to be included keeps growing as well.

“The demand is greater, the quantity is greater,” McClish said. “Fortunately, we have a community of growers who work with us.” 

“Our motto is, all are fed and no one is hungry. We don’t turn anyone away. We take all forms of payment, but if they don’t have any money, they get fed anyway. We’ll even barter.”

The farm has about five acres under cultivation, with pumpkin, acorn and butternut squash, zucchini, collard greens, spinach and purple hull peas—a Southern specialty similar to black-eyed peas.

“What is happening just thrills my heart,” McClish said. “Everyone is benefitting on both ends. The growers are making extra income during the growing season, and the seniors are getting fresh produce at a reduced cost.”

6:00 pm Charter Meeting and Dinner @ The Center