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.
Hannah Hidaka, Interim Director of Development
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.
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.
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.
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.
Vladimir Mitton, Juniper Gardens Training Farm Program Manager
Rolff Vladimir Mitton is an Agronomist Engineer and a Master's Degree Candidate in Soil Science at the Federal University of Parana in Brazil. He is certified in Greenhouse Management from the Universidad Autonoma de Santo Domingo in Dominican Republic and in Business Management form the Universidad Veracruzana in Mexico. He has worked with both local farmers and students from different countries and background on best farming practices and commercialization. One of his current projects includes the reduction or mitigation of synthetic potassium based fertilizer to both enhance crops yield and to ultimately minimize anthropological footprint on the environment. A strong advocate of equity and defender of the sustainable farming concept, he believes that true changes come from awareness and education.
In his new position at Cultivate Kansas City as the manager for the New Roots for Refugees program, he works closely with farmers and staff members alike to promote and maintain good farming practices, food safety and encourage overall sustainability through a versatile training program.
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.