KC and Hy-Vee talking urban ag deal  

untitled-(5-of-6)If you’re going to grow things on an old jail site, it helps to capture a market.

The city council finance committee today approved a resolution for the city manager to negotiate with Hy-Vee Inc. to sell produce and more raised at the old municipal farm.

The 441-acre site was home of the city jail and a farm for it before the structure was demolished about five years ago.

Now the city plans for much urban agriculture there.

The Boys Grow group has leased 10 acres and is preparing it to grow crops and possibly raise goats and chickens, said Kimiko Black Gilmore, assistant city manager.

BrightFarms, a greenhouse operator, also plans to open a 100,000 square-feet greenhouse there.

And community garden operations are going strong there, she said, with 58 ground plots, 44 raised beds and a long waiting list to get space.

Frank Witter, a Hy-Vee executive, said the employee-owned company has a long history of helping such local efforts.

Mayor Pro Tem Scott Wagner said the company stepped forward for more involvement after its initial discussions with Bright Farms.

“It just kept growing and growing,” and that is a good thing, he said. “There’s a lot of room to grow at the municipal farm.”

The full city council will vote on the measure next week.

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