Cultivate Kansas City Staff
Alicia Alferman, Administrative Assistant
Alicia A. is not particularly a great gardener. Inspired by her mom’s green thumb and hard work, she has tried repeatedly. Her enthusiasm tends to come up short in the heat of July and August, and everything wilts. BUT she cooks from scratch and is a dedicated advocate of local, organic, whole foods. She’s a long-time admirer of Cultivate Kansas City and is thrilled to be helping their mission in any way she can.
Alicia is also an artist, photographer, and a wife and mother of two. She’s trying her best to teach her kids the importance of family dinner and healthy food. She loves her people, her little black dog, camping, hiking, and baseball.
Kristina Bridges, Grant Writer/Grant Compliance Manager
Kristina studied nutrition and microbiology at The University of Kansas Medical Center, from which she holds a Ph.D. in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics. Kristina has applied her nutrition and science background to working with organizations that have a direct impact on community health by bringing fresh, local food to the urban core. She led food safety, Farm-to-School education and a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Workplace Wellness Program through Good Natured Family Farms for two years and is currently on the development team for Cultivate Kansas City. Kristina has a passion for nutrition and a desire to share her knowledge with parents and children. Kristina is Director of Rosedale Healthy Kids Club, an after-school program teaching healthy choices through cooking, gardening, art and games for elementary students in Wyandotte County, KS. Kristina believes that healthy kids grow up to raise healthy kids and together we can create a cycle of healthy choices starting with a healthy local food system.
Sam Davis, Site Manager - Juniper Gardens Training Farm
As a kid, Sam’s family did share cropping throughout Arkansas before moving to Kansas. They always had a garden on the side of the house, so Sam learned about agriculture from his family. When he retired from work as a millwright, Sam started gardening again at his house. A friend liked what he was doing and asked him to help her out gardening at the Juniper Gardens Training Farm. Sam started hanging around during the first year of the program in 2008, and he liked the people and the program. People recognized his skills and asked him to do projects, at first as a volunteer and now as staff. Sam has his own plot in the community gardens at the Juniper Gardens Training Farm, which is a family project. His children and grandchildren are all involved in helping him grow and eat the food. His favorite part of the work is designing it – solving the problems of water drainage, figuring out how to make the soil generate better, among challenges. And, of course, he loves all the food he grows. “The garden keeps me alive because it gives me something to do. It keeps the body moving along with the mind at the same time.”
Sarah Dehart Faltico, Double Up Food Bucks KC Program Manager
Sarah developed a taste for good food as a child while working in her mother and grandmother's gardens, during family dinners every single night and through her work in high end restaurants. International travel developed her passion for real food as a fundamental human right. After living in Latin America, Sarah spent five years working in the pharmaceutical industry where she saw firsthand the disastrous physical, mental and emotional health consequences that can result when we have no connection to the food we eat.
That's when Sarah decided to change, so she quit the corporate gig and started farming. She spent two years as an apprentice at Gibbs Road Farm and a season learning no-till techniques at Urbavore Farm before tackling a project to grow food with at-risk teen girls on a nearby empty lot. Through this she learned the importance of helping more people get access to healthier food. This led Sarah back to Cultivate Kansas City as the Double Up Food Bucks, formerly Beans&Greens, Program Manager where she works to increase access to fresh, healthy food for under-served populations while helping to support local farmers.
Ami Freeberg, Community Organizer - Westport Commons Farm
ami[at]cultivatekc.org , 913-360-9204
Ami began her career in food and agriculture as a young girl terrorizing her mother’s garden. As a kid, her mom tricked her into thinking that cucumbers from the garden were candy, and Ami has been a believer that fresh food is fundamental to health and well-being ever since (and more delicious than candy). In her teenage years, she helped her family run a café at the Fairfield, Iowa farmers’ market, cooking and selling delicious meals with local produce every week. While studying at Grinnell College, she twisted her Sociology major and Global Development Studies concentration to focus on food systems as much as possible. She completed an internship with Cultivate Kansas City in the summer of 2008, where she primarily worked with the New Roots for Refugees program in its first year. That summer she became intrigued by the idea of creating thriving communities around food, so returned to Kansas City after her graduation to continue this work.
Hannah Hidaka, Director of Individual Giving
Hannah joins us from Pomegranate Center in Seattle, Wash., a non-profit that helps low-income and high-density communities create community-built gathering places, parks, and public artwork, where she served as development and outreach director. Hannah’s passion for local food is tied to her belief that what we eat determines how we feel - and when we feel our best, we make our greatest and most creative contributions to our friends, family, coworkers and community. Working as development director for Cultivate Kansas City, Hannah raises money for programs that directly support our local farmers, thereby enhancing the quality of life for our entire community.
Rachael Holloway, Double Up Food Bucks Kansas City Program Assistant
Rachael fell in love with the impact of local food through international travels. She saw the intimacy of connecting around a central table and the importance of taking a holistic view of food, life, and community. After graduating Westminster College with a degree in English Writing, Rachael served as their Fellow in Community Engagement and Service Learning, to revitalize a sustainable garden and food pantry for students experiencing food-insecurity. Rachael was connected to Cultivate KC in 2014 after moving back to her beloved hometown. She worked as, Event Assistant, under the direction of Hannah Hidaka during the annual Dig-In celebration. Inspired by their multi-faceted approach to the issues surrounding our U.S. Food System, Rachael worked to become more involved with the local efforts, leading to her current roles as the Market Manager of Rosedale Farmers Market and now Program Assistant of the Double Up Food Bucks KC Program. Cultivate KC. To Rachael, this way of living, connected to our neighbors, friends, and friends-yet-to-be in this vital way provides the foundation for authentic fellowship. Food connects us to our humanity and our shared world. Working for Cultivate KC, their mission, and the health of our food systems continues Rachel’s dream of encouraging inclusive, respectful, and healthy communities one dinner-table at a time.
Katherine Kelly, Executive Director, Co-Founder
Katherine grew up working on her neighbor’s row crop and livestock farm outside of Wichita and became a backyard and community gardener when she moved to the Twin Cities and then Boston in the eighties and early nineties. She started her farming career as a field worker on organic farms in 1991 in the Boston area. She moved back to the Midwest in late 1996, where she started and ran Full Circle Farm for eight years. In 2005, she co-founded the Kansas City Center for Urban Agriculture, now Cultivate Kansas City. She has worked professionally since the early 1980s with grass roots community organizations in the Twin Cities, Boston, and Kansas City, doing program management, fundraising, marketing, financial management, and organizational development consulting. She co-founded the Growing Growers Training Program and the Farmers Community Market at Brookside.
Matthew Kost, Program Director
matthew.kost [at] cultivatekc.org, 913-401-6822
Matthew manages Cultivate Kansas City’s farmer development and support programs, pairing his agriculture and horticulture experience with a global, cross-cultural perspective on agricultural systems and practices. In his new role at Cultivate KC, he’s working to develop resilient and adaptive approaches to increased economic, environmental and socially sustainable systems.
A Kansas City native, Matthew studied the genetic basis of local adaptation in the maize landraces of Chiapas, Mexico, providing insight in the roles that culture and crop diversity play in defining resilient and sustainable agricultural systems. His efforts to conserving quinoa and kiwicha landrace diversity in the Andes Mountains of Peru further intensified his acumen in the role that crop diversity plays in the future of agriculture. Working as an organic farmer and raising sheep with his wife, Nancy, Matthew has developed a keen understanding of the challenges and opportunities in establishing and operating local farm businesses.
Matthew earned his Doctorate in Agricultural Genetics from The Ohio State University.
Craig Marcklinger, Assistant Farm Manager - Gibbs Road Farm
Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Craig left the Midwest to complete his undergraduate degree in International Relations at Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey. Research and travel to the Caribbean led him to Florida International University in Miami, Florida to complete his graduate degree in Latin American and Caribbean Studies. His thesis, entitled “Community Environmental Preservation Initiatives in Borgne, Haiti,” focused on a grassroots agroforestry project and peasant organizations in rural Haiti. After working for a short time in Haiti, Craig returned to South Florida and spent three years working with newly arrived Haitian refugees in various capacities—including hosting a weekly radio show in Haitian Kreyol. Finally answering the call to jump full time into agriculture, Craig relocated to Kansas City with his wife Victoria to take an apprenticeship at Gibbs Road Farm. In fall 2015 he started as Assistant Farm Manager.
Lily Siebert, Outreach Coordinator
Lily comes to Cultivate Kansas City from The Merc Co-op in Lawrence. While working at The Merc, she had the opportunity to connect with the local food community in the Education and Outreach department which quickly developed into a full-time position educating students about food and agriculture through the Growing Food Growing Health School Garden Project. After more than six years working side-by-side with teens planting, maintaining, harvesting, and selling school garden produce, she made the move to Kansas City to continue developing and expanding her love for urban agriculture with Cultivate Kansas City. She appreciated the value of food from a young age and her interest was fostered and deeply encouraged through access to gardening, farming, cooking, and eating. She is grateful to have found a way to contribute to a movement which enables others to do the same.
Linda Siemens, Operations Manager
Linda grew up in Winnipeg, Canada, with a family that always had a garden, grew incredible vegetables, and served fresh salads every day of the summer. It was normal for her to take the hose, spray down just-picked carrots and enjoy the sweet snack right in the backyard. So when Linda and her husband Dan bought their first home, the first thing she did was dig up an area of the lawn and start growing. She hasn’t looked back!
Together, they made the move to the Kansas City area in 2002, with Linda joining Cultivate Kansas City in the spring of 2014. She comes with a background in nonprofit administration and a Master of Social Welfare (MSW) in Administrative and Advocacy Practice. Her position helps support the technology, human resource, database, and financial needs of the organization, but Linda is sure to take plenty of walks through the fields in-between.
Josh Smith, Farm Manager - Gibbs Road Farm
The roots of agriculture run deep in Josh’s family. He grew up to the rhythm of farm life in rural southwest Tennessee, where, surrounded by 300 pigs, tractors, cattle, and 3 acres of family gardens, he had a deep-rooted sense of place and responsibility to the land. Through years of weeding, mowing, servicing equipment, and feeding the animals, Josh found stability and purpose in farm life. He left the land and explored Panama, Northern Ireland, and the Amazon jungle during his college years, then moved out of state to pursue a graduate degree in soil ecology at SIU in Carbondale, Illinois.
Josh strongly believes urban agriculture can foster community. His experience has taught him that growing food is as much a way of investing oneself in their community as it is a way to make a livelihood. He and his partner Charlotte live in the Midtown area and enjoy good food, evening walks, and hosting people and parties.
Claire Zimmermann, Metro Food and Farm Systems
Claire is a Kansas City native who has just returned home after managing a farm in the middle of the Rocky Mountains. She grew to love plants, and the day-to-day operations of farming systems after pursuing a degree in Agricultural Sciences at Truman State University. She believes that the opportunity to build happier, healthier and more vibrant communities starts in the soil, and ends in a neighborhood potluck. Equally as passionate about food as she is communal stewardship of our planet, Claire would like to see Kansas City teeming with gardens and farms that will nourish us, so that we can continue to grow together. Claire works with the Get Growing KC team in conjunction with Kansas City Community Gardens, and provides technical advice and support to Kansas City growers. She believes farming creates life-long learners, and a sustainable foundation for long-term success.
PJ Quell and Larry Davis, Volunteers Extraordinaire
We had our ah ha moment 15 years ago, watching my brother-in-law eat fresh fruit, but never without peeling it. It was our first inkling of pesticides, preservatives, and irradiation, with the realization that far off corporate farms filled our stomachs but did not nurture us with quality food. So we eagerly shopped at Wild Oats until we attended the first farmer’s expo in the 90’s. Ah ha again! Local food trumps organic trucked in from afar. We began shopping at the Barstow Market, and along with fresh produce, was a flyer to pull weeds at Full Circle Farm. That stirred in me (PJ) a longing to get my hands in the dirt. I came, I weeded, I realized I was too old for field work! But I was convinced that eating mindfully could change me and the world. When the Center for Urban Agriculture organized, we saw it could restore this relationship with our food that seems to have vanished. Long story short, we are 100% committed to helping the organization, now Cultivate Kansas City, succeed.
Board of Directors
Shannon Berry, Treasurer
Jim Lammert, Compliance Officer
Cary Rivard, Secretary
Jake Wagner, Board Chair
Founding Board Members, 2005-2007
Chair, Tina Hoover, Community Volunteer
Secretary, Edward Carey, K-State Research & Extension, Vegetable Specialist
Treasurer, Sherri Harvel, Farmer/Owner Root Deep Urban Farm Kansas City, MO
John Kaiahua, Farmer/Owner J&J Produce, retired military, Raytown, MO
Kwang Kim, Farmer, Olathe, KS
Howard Lotven, Attorney
Lisa Markely, Nutritionist, Health Educator
Beverly Pender, Farmer/Owner, Soul & Soil Rainbow Gardens, KCK
Julie Xiong, Girls Scouts, KCK Greenmarket Director
Katherine Kelly, formerly owner of Full Circle Farm, a Kansas City, KS urban farm
Daniel Dermitzel, co-founder, former Associate Director.
Daniel co-founded the organization in 2005 and resigned in 2012 to pursue his interests in sustainability, agriculture, and urban planning in other settings. Daniel was a key leader in the organization, using his unique set of skills as a farmer, urban planner, educator, and editor. We know that he will be an asset to whatever roles he takes on next in his life and are grateful for the passion, skills, and energy he has shared with Cultivate Kansas City and the urban agriculture community. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.