The two-day Growing Connections: Food and Farm Conference is focused on urban farming with an emphasis on on-farm food safety. Monday’s farm tours and Tuesday’s power presentations are a great opportunity to glimpse various production methods and will be informative for young and emerging farmers and well as experienced growers interested in learning more about no-till and regenerative farming, grape and tree fruit production, urban honey production, farmer mental health, racial equity, social justice, community development, intergenerational farming, entrepreneurship, farm-to-school, and folx looking for a deeper conversation about food production and a closer connection to our rich Kansas City network.
TOURING URBAN FARMS
Day 1: Monday, Oct.18
Monday kicks off at at 8:30 AM with at KC Farm School at Gibbs Road Farm in KCK with coffee and pastries before we tour Gibbs Road Farm and Common Ground. Next we head north to Pay Lay’s 2.5 acre Ki Koko Farms. Crossing the border, we grab lunch-to-go at The Farmhouse on our way to Urbavore, Brooke Salvaggio and Dan Heryer urban oasis about 5 miles east of Country Club Plaza. The Ivanhoe Neighborhood in midtown KCMO is home to our last two stops – Young Family Farm and Neil Rudisill’s half acre micro farm Woodland City KC. The last tour wraps up around 4:00 PM and carpoolers return to KC Farm School by 4:30.
Joining us on the tours are KSRE and MU Extension State Food Safety Specialists – Calloway ‘Cal’ Jamerson and Dr. Londa Nwadike. Londa and Cal are highlighting the best practices for on-farm food safety with particular emphasis on strategies important to urban farms.
GATHERING AT THE BARN
Day 2: Tuesday, Oct.19
Tuesday’s gathering hosted by Alicia Ellingsworth, Executive Director at KC Farm School, includes 30-minute power presentations from 9 farmers and ag pros with plenty of time to dig into hot topics including zoning, beekeeping in the city + building community, farmer mental health, growing grapes for wine production, social media, on-farm produce safety with a focus on challenges when growing in the city, and rebuilding communities: soil communities, rural communities, and urban communities.
Scheduled speakers: Alana Young Henry, Lacy Stephens, Daniel Robinson, Gail Fuller, Andrea Clark, Lydia Nebel, Dr. Marion Pierson, Brian Reeves, Calloway ‘Cal’ Jamerson, Matt Bunch, and Michael Amigoni.
See the day’s schedule and learn more about the session and speakers below.
About the Gathering . . .
8:00 AM Coffee, breakfast, and networking
8:30 AM Alana Young Henry, owner and operator at Young Family Farm
Alana shares her family’s whirlwind adventure farming in KCMO’s urban core and discusses her on-farm market, selling to restaurants, the tremendous community support they’ve received, and farming intergenerationally.
9:15 AM Lacy Stephens, MS, RDN, Senior Program Manager, National Farm to School Network, Bloomberg American Health Initiative Fellow, Johns Hopkins University
Lacy provides an overview of the National Farm to School Network, its parterships, and new project of training the trainer to spread the word and break barriers between farmers and schools. She shares a script they’ve recently developed for farmers to engage with food service buyers.
10:00 AM Daniel Robinson, President of KC Young Farmers Coaltion, and site manager at Cultivate Kansas City’s Westport Commons Farm
Daniel gives an overview of the National Young Farmers Coalition, its goals, and its vision for the future of farming. He also discusses our local KC chapter and how to get involved. Daniel’s heart is in equity and farmer mental health, so expect him to dive into those topics as well.
10:45 AM Gail Fuller, Circle 7 Farms in Severy, Kansas, and founding board member of Great Plains Regeneration
Gail describes his work, and the network of regenerative farmers coming together to rebuild soils, enhance biodiversity, grow nutrient-dense food, save rural communities, enliven urban communities, and honor soil communities.
11:30 AM Andrea Clark, Policy and Planning Manager at KC Healthy Kids
Growing in the city requires working with city government. KC Healthy Kids has been building bridges across the divide, and Andrea will share the newly released, From the Ground Up: Planning and Zoning for Urban Agriculture in Greater Kansas City. They have also created handbooks for building high tunnels and creating school gardens.
12:15 PM LUNCH, includes guided discussions with Lydia Nebel, KC Farm School’s Farm Director at Common Ground
1:00 PM Dr. Marion Pierson, Co-Founder and President, MO Hives, and Brian Reeves, Co-Founder and Vice President MO Hives
MO Hives was founded to bring beekeeping back into the city and provide opportunity to urban youth they would not otherwise have access to. Founders, Dr. Marion Pierson and Brian Reeves are committed to their work and dedicated to the community. Hear them discuss the joys of building this new organization from the ground up and all the partnerships that have made it happen. Lesson to learn: the importance of networking.
1:45 PM Calloway ‘Cal’ Jamerson, KSRE State Extension Produce Safety Associate
Cal provides an introduction to the core aspects of the produce safety rule covering the basic principles of produce safety and produce safety regulatory requirements, as well as marketplace requirements, such as Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) certification.
2:30 PM Matt Bunch, Horticulturist, The Giving Grove
Matt discusses growing fruit trees for production, choosing the best trees for yields and flavor, and how to find a market for your crop!
3:15 PM Michael Amigoni, owner and operator, Amigoni Urban Winery
This rare glimpse into the mind and work of urban wine producer, Michael Amigoni is a fascinating close to our day. Learn about Michael’s new vineyard project in the Stockyards District, his wine production, and his favorite grapes, and how you can get started growing your own.
4:00 PM Adjourn
4:15 PM Amigoni wine tasting and snacks