Community in Action
Examples of programs, policies, and tools in action.

Increasing fresh produce in Kansas City MO via urban agriculture

September 6, 2016

To increase access to fresh, healthy foods in a Kansas City, MO neighborhood greatly affected by the economic downturn, the Ivanhoe Neighborhood Council (INC), the Greater Kansas City Food Policy Coalition, and KC Healthy Kids partnered to champion local urban agriculture efforts. Many residents of Ivanhoe gardened and wished to supplement their incomes by legally selling fresh produce to their neighbors. However, current zoning ordinances prohibited produce sales outside of farmers’ markets and onsite pick-up of produce by Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) members, and did not allow sales from home or community gardens or outside help tending gardens with produce intended for sale.

INC and partners launched a coordinated advocacy campaign in support of local urban agriculture activities, and the city council responded with an ordinance that helped eliminate barriers to growing food locally by creating separate definitions for home gardens, community gardens, and CSA farms. The council also created KC Grow, a water access program that provides water usage guidance and small grants for municipal water line taps and rainwater catchment systems in support of community-grown food. In collaboration with KC Healthy Kids, INC also launched Grown in Ivanhoe, a grassroots initiative that offers free workshops to Ivanhoe residents to teach them how to garden and supports a local farmers’ market and network of farm stands.

Residents can now sell produce directly from their home gardens or community gardens; gardens may be tended by non-resident family, friends, volunteers, and interns; CSA subscribers may pick-up produce onsite and help garden; and water access makes gardening possible across the city. A vacant double lot next to the Nutter Ivanhoe Neighborhood Center has been transformed into a public park with a playground, picnic tables, a walking trail, and a community garden. The raised beds of the community garden support production of fresh food for local families and serves as an outdoor classroom for the University of Missouri Extension’s Eating From the Garden.

To learn more about this effort, visit the Active Living By Design (ALBD) summary of the program. To connect with KC Healthy Kids, contact Gretchen Kunkel, President of KC Healthy Kids, [email protected].

Kansas City is a 2015 RWJF Culture of Health Prize winner. To see a video about their work increasing access to healthy foods and addressing root causes of poor health, visit this page.

Communities in Action provide examples of strategies or tools in action. Their purpose is to connect like-minded communities in their implementation efforts, giving insight into how others are tackling key challenges and what they've accomplished. To learn more about the evidence supporting this strategy's effectiveness or resources to help move towards implementation, see the What Works for Health summary of Urban agriculture.

Date added: September 6, 2016