Cultivate Kansas City Staff

  • Alicia Alferman, Administrative Assistant

    Alicia Alferman, Administrative Assistant

    alicia.alferman[at], 913-831-2444

    Inspired by her mom’s green thumb and hard work, Alicia has tried repeatedly to improve her gardening skills. Her enthusiasm tends to come up short in the heat of July and August. 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 dog, camping, hiking, and baseball.

  • Lauren Salvini Ballard, Assistant Manager - Nutrition Incentive Programs

    Lauren Salvini Ballard, Assistant Manager - Nutrition Incentive Programs

    lauren.ballard[at], 913-401-6796

    A Lawrence, KS native, Lauren spent her childhood summers running barefoot through her mother’s backyard gardens. Memories of bright, crunchy watermelon, zucchini squash sautés and plucking fresh, plump strawberries from the small, netted patch inspired her to continue to engage in local food. After graduating from KU with a Bachelors in Anthropology, she went on to Johnson County Culinary School, which brought her to Kansas City.

    Professionally, Lauren has worked in farm to table restaurants, made handcrafted confections, managed a locally sourced market/deli, written for a local food magazine and, after attending her first Farmers and Friends meeting five years ago, started her path to serve as a volunteer for Cultivate KC. She transitioned from the culinary community into nonprofit administration and is ecstatic to fuse those worlds together by moving from volunteer to employee for Cultivate KC!

    Lauren has the pleasure of both working and living in the community that she serves, and believes in Kansas City and its ability to provide access to fresh, local food to all of its citizens.

  • Sam Davis, Site Manager - Juniper Gardens Training Farm

    Sam Davis, Site Manager - Juniper Gardens Training Farm

    sam.davis[at], 913-952-4400

    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.”

  • Tammy Dodderidge, Communications Director

    Tammy Dodderidge, Communications Director

    tammy.dodderidge[at], 913-944-5639

    Tammy’s first experience with urban gardening came as a teenager when her family bought a house on a nearly one acre lot and planted an extensive garden. She remembers picking green beans, digging up potatoes and indulging in fresh strawberries. There was no turning back after that – she was hooked!

    A native of Kansas City, Kansas, Tammy has lived in Kansas all of her life. She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Kansas and started her career as a newspaper reporter and editor. She later moved into the communications side of journalism, directing communications for a dairy promotion and marketing organization. Though born and bred a city girl, she soon found herself fascinated by and dedicated to all things ag. After a period of running her own communications business and working in the public education arena, Tammy has found her way back home to the field of agriculture, which is her passion.

    At Cultivate, her mission is to manage all communications initiatives to raise awareness of the organization’s programs and people, while helping to grow food, farms and a healthy community.

  • Kim Gasper, Development Director

    Kim Gasper, Development Director

    kim.gasper[at], 913-360-9709

    Kim is a Kansas City native with a non-profit and marketing background. She grew up on food from the farmer's market, where her Grandmother went each week religiously. She is a regular of farmer's markets herself and has a great love of local food, cooking and the great outdoors. Kim is a true extrovert and never met a stranger! She has experience working with non-profits all over the country in a variety of development roles. She is a big fan of Kansas City and is passionate about our community and the local food system.

  • Sarah Jordan, Development Associate

    Sarah Jordan, Development Associate

    sarah.jordan[at], 913-601-5005

    Sarah discovered a love for fresh, homegrown food in her grandfather's garden in New England. Her favorite was always when the sugar peas were in season, they would head over to the local dairy farm for some cream and eat a big bowl of peas and cream like cereal.

    After graduating with a Bachelors Degree in Hospitality Management from the University of South Carolina, Sarah found herself working in the non-profit industry in Kansas City. Searching for a way to connect back to gardening and community food, Sarah discovered local farmer's markets and the great work of Cultivate KC. As a new homeowner in KCK, Sarah is excitedly starting a garden of her own and bringing her development experience with her to Cultivate. Sarah is responsible for writing grants and raising funds, working closely with members of our community to grow support for local farmers and food.

  • Katherine Kelly, Executive Director, Co-Founder

    Katherine Kelly, Executive Director, Co-Founder

    katherine.kelly[at], 913-515-2426

    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, Program Director

    matthew.kost[at], 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.

  • Jennifer Marsh, Manager - Nutrition Incentive Programs

    Jennifer Marsh, Manager - Nutrition Incentive Programs

    jennifer.marsh[at], 913-203-5533

    Jen is a recent transplant from the East Coast who has spent over 15 years in non-profit management and anti-violence work. Growing up in a family of gardeners and farmers Jen sought out urban gardening opportunities while living in Washington, DC and was eager to get more involved in food systems work here in Kansas City. Jen spent over 11 years managing national anti-violence programs for the general public as well as for Federal agencies. She has testified before Congress and chaired the congressionally-mandated Peace Corps Sexual Assault Advisory Council. More recently, she provided consulting services to assist private and public organizations find impactful solutions to complex issues related to sexual violence. After working for over a decade with survivors of trauma, Jen strongly believes in the power of growing and the positive impact healthy foods, minds and bodies can have on a community.

  • Vladimir Mitton, Juniper Gardens Training Farm Program Manager

    Vladimir Mitton, Juniper Gardens Training Farm Program Manager

    vladimir.mitton[at], 913-602-1181

    Rolff Vladimir Mitton is an Agronomist Engineer and has a Master's Degree in Soil Science from 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.

  • Linda Siemens, Director of Finance & Administration

    Linda Siemens, Director of Finance & Administration

    linda.siemens[at], 913-203-0927

    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.

  • Taylor Westfall, Public Education Coordinator

    Taylor Westfall, Public Education Coordinator

    taylor[at], 913-360-9204

    Taylor got her first taste of the local food movement working at the campus farmers market while studying at the University of Missouri, where students could pick up fresh fruits and veggies on their way to class. Growing up in the suburbs of Chicago with a vegetable garden in her backyard, Taylor loved having homegrown food on her plate every night. She wanted everyone to have the same easy accessibility to healthy and local food.

    After graduating from Mizzou with a degree in Political Science, Taylor worked as a nature camp counselor in the Golden Gate Recreation Area in San Francisco and served as an AmeriCorps VISTA at a child development center in Fort Worth. She spent some time teaching English in Bologna, Italy before finding her way back to Missouri!

    Taylor is excited to work as the Public Education Coordinator to help bring people into the food movement. She would love to see healthy and local food on every place in Kansas City!

  • PJ Quell and Larry Davis, Volunteers Extraordinaire

    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

    Shannon Berry, Treasurer
  • Bill Davison

    Bill Davison Bill works in strategic planning and transactions for Lendlease, an Australian company with operations in the United States. He got to know Cultivate Kansas CIty by attending the Dig In event (from its inception), through friendships with past and current Cultivate community members and, most importantly, as a regular purchaser of healthy, organic food at the Brookside Farmers Market.

  • Ray Domino

    Ray Domino Ray has 22 years' experience in non-profit accounting & financial management. He has long been interested in living healthily & lightly upon the Earth. Eating food grown locally or regionally, preferably with ingredients found only in Mother nature, is vital to achieving these goals. There is also a spiritual aspect to these goals that is important to Ray. Cultivate Kansas City does a wonderful job of helping Greater Kansas City work toward these goals.

  • Keith Harris, PhD

    Keith Harris, PhD Keith is an Assistant Professor Agricultural Economics at Kansas State University. He has experienced 30 years in food and agriculture as an industry practitioner and academic. Cultivate Kansas City's work represents his values of economic viability and environmental sustainability for the food system.

  • Brenda Kumm

    Brenda Kumm
  • Jim Lammert, Compliance Officer

    Jim Lammert, Compliance Officer
  • Emily Lecuyer

    Emily Lecuyer Emily Lecuyer is a returned Peace Corps Volunteer who has worked with New Roots for Refugees and other local farms in KC. She is passionate about strengthening regional food economies through innovative financing solutions. Emily currently has 4 chickens, works at Mobank, and serves on the Executive Committee of the KC Food Policy Coalition.

  • Christina Long

    Christina Long Christina is the Chief Culture & People Officer for Redemption Plus, and has 20+ years of entrepreneurial minded executive management expertise in sales, marketing, operations and human resources. Christina is also an ex-business owner of a local food manufacturing and distribution company, and in seeing the rise of GMOs, pesticides and other toxins growing more prevalent in our food supply, she became very passionate about local, sustainable and organic foods. She is an avid gardener and hopes to run her own hobby farm someday with her husband Gary.

  • Pete Malone, Board Vice Chair

    Pete Malone, Board Vice Chair Pete is in market research at DEMDACO. He was attracted to Cultivate Kansas City because of an illness which motivated him to want to eat healthier foods -- primarily locally grown, organic greens! He wants to help promote a healthier food system to more people in the KC area.

  • Cary Rivard, Secretary

    Cary Rivard, Secretary Cary Rivard is a Fruit and Vegetable Extension Specialist at Kansas State University in the Department of Horticulture and Natural Resources, and is Center Director of the Olathe Horticulture Research and Extension Center. He has a BS in Agriculture Sciences and Biology from Truman State University and a MS and PhD in Plant Pathology from North Carolina State University. His research program focuses on sustainable farming production systems and current projects include: vegetable grafting, annual strawberry production systems, high tunnels, no-till and minimum tillage systems, and reducing postharvest losses. He also coordinates the Growing Growers farmer education program the webpage and listserv.

  • Joann Schwarberg

    Joann Schwarberg
  • John Sharp

    John Sharp
  • Andrea Shores

    Andrea Shores Andrea works in corporate communications for Sprint, the telecommunications company headquartered in Overland Park, Kan. Introduced to Cultivate Kansas City in 2010 through her work with the Missouri Department of Agriculture, Andrea has since served the organization as a volunteer, Communications Committee member and chair, and supporter. As an advocate for sustainable, local agriculture, Andrea is often found shopping at the Brookside Farmers’ Market or eating at area locally-owned restaurants.

  • Jake Wagner, Board Chair

    Jake Wagner, Board Chair Jake is the Director of Urban Studies in UMKC’s Department of Architecture, Urban Planning and Design. He is the co-founder of the Center for Neighborhoods. He has taught courses in Food Systems Planning and Community Development.
    He got interested in Urban Agriculture at the University of Oregon where he studied Urban Farming with Steve Solomon and worked for market farmers around Eugene, Oregon.

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

Founding staff

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


Cultivate Kansas City
4223 Gibbs Road
Kansas City, KS 66106
Phone (913) 831-2444
info@cultivatekc.orgCopyright © 2017