Community garden growth “off the charts” in metro Kansas City

Ah, fresh tomatoes. Many gardeners are starting to dream of them now. And according to a the director of Kansas City Community Gardens, more people are gardening, in their backyards, neighborhoods and school yards, than ever before.
Photo used under a Creative Commons licensing agreement courtesy burgundavia.

Gardening in Midtown and the rest of the metro area has grown “off the charts” in the past five years.

That’s the word from the director of Kansas City Community Gardens, Ben Sharda, who spoke yesterday to the Troost Alliance.

Sharda says his organization has seen a surge of interest in gardening in backyards, vacant lots, and other sites.

“More than 1000 low-income households have garden plots,” he said. “We also have 210 community partner gardens and 136 school gardens.”

KCCG is a nonprofit that started in 1979. It is dedicated to improving the quality of life of low-income households and other members of the community by helping them grow their own fruits and vegetables.

“It’s about food and people, to help people grow food for themselves,” he said.

The community garden movement has taken off not just in Kansas City, but nationwide, and Sharda said there are three reasons: the economic climate; an increased interest in nutrition and childhood obesity; and the local food movement.

“Growing your own food,” he said, “that’s about as local as you can get.”

The Kansas City Community Gardens now have four large sites where gardeners can get space. The closest Midtown location is 35th and Park at the Richardson School.

For would-be gardeners who are just getting started, Sharda has some words of optimism.

“Last year was probably the worst gardening season I have ever seen,” he said. “But I promise it will get better”


  • Kansas City Community Gardens, 6717 Kensington
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