Good food, conversation at 14th Annual Farmers & Friends Meeting

Posted on February 19, 2019 by Alicia Alferman

This year’s Annual Farmers & Friends Meeting brought together more than 200 attendees to Second Presbyterian Church. 

As usual, the event started with open conversation during a pie potluck breakfast. After welcoming guests, awards were presented to Alicia Ellingsworth and Mitzvah Garden KC.

Ellingsworth received the John Kaiahua Mentorship Award, established in 2018 in honor of John Kaiahua, a long-time organic vegetable farmer who was known for his mentorship of other farmers. Recipients are farmers who exemplify the commitment to farming education and training. Ellingsworth served as farm manager with Cultivate KC for five years. She now serves as Sales Director the KC Food Hub, where she continues to support, encourage and work with farmers. In 2018, she started The Farm School at Gibbs Rd., where she plans to mentor young people about food and farming.

KC Food Circle presented Mitzvah Garden KC with the Ben Kjelshus Grow the Circle Award, which was created in 2014 to recognize the work of individuals, farmers, organizations or businesses that champion farm-fresh, locally-produced food in the KC area. Mitzvah Garden KC, located on the grounds of the Temple Congregation B’nai Jehudah in Overland Park, Kan., demonstrates this through their mission to create community through gardening.

The keynote panel of farmers Paul Conway, Linda Hezel and Tom Ruiggieri, led by Cultivate KC’s executive director Katherine Kelly, discussed how they are experiencing and adapting to the challenges resulting from climate change. The Kansas City region is projected to be the fifth most challenged metropolitan area in the country in terms of the impact of climate change. The presenters shared their strategies for using and creating climate resilient and carbon sequestering strategies.

Download the Keynote Presentation

The audience then was asked to collectively consider and share how climate change might impact farming, gardening and food access in Kansas City and to identify and share positive action steps to take. Breakout sessions in the afternoon covered topics ranging from urban farming and equity to chef-farmer relationships. The sessions were divided by a potluck lunch, during which a biochar demonstration took place outside.

Couldn’t attend or missed out on a session because you were in another? Presenter topics and materials can be found below.


Breakout session topics & materials

Accessing the Market

Presented by KATHLEEN FOSTER, DONNA MARTIN, DEB CONNORS
Those interested in learning about how food access programs and partnerships have helped make farmers markets accessible to the masses. Our panel will look at the Double Up Food Bucks and SNAP food access programs, the importance of marketing these programs and how these programs have benefited farmers and the community.

Download Nutrition Programs Presentation
Download City Market Presentation
Download DUFB Communications Strategies

Agroforestry and Carbon Farming

Presented by LINDA HEZEL
Application of the concepts to urban, peri-urban, and rural food production

Download Resource List

Alternative Avenues for Growers

Presented by MICHAEL CRANE, CHERYL BISBEE
Whether its hops, beets other fruits/veggies for breweries, herbs, flowers for distilleries/specialty cocktails for restaurants, come explore some different ideas for what you grow and maybe learn some new recipies along the way

Build your own Greenhouse

Presented by DRE TAYLOR
Come learn of Dre’s experience building his own greenhouse and take away knowledge and ideas how you too can build your own.

Creating Community at your Farm

Presented by ALICIA ELLINGSWORTH, DRE TAYLOR, MIKE ROLLEN
Learn what it means to connect with your neighbors, recruit volunteers, and engage your greater community with your farm. Building a network of support contributes to your farm’s sustainability, your farm’s impact on your neighborhood, and helps to grow community around your farm

Digital Gardening

Presented by ERIC WAGNER
Leverage the power of computers to help you design your garden, plant your crops, and manage for pests using inexpensive or free digital tools. We’ll talk about everything from complex programs to simple mobile apps that can help you save time and organize the wealth of information that is involved with growing

Download Presentation

Examining Mother Nature’s Method of Building Amazing Soil Structure

Presented by DREW ARENSBERG, KARA TWEEDY
Get into the nitty-gritty science with Drew and Kara on how microorganisms build soil structure and how this process has a big impact on how you grow in clay heavy soils. Then we’ll top it all off with a friendly discussion on why soil chemistry (the norm) is not the the future of growing for our community’s regenerative agriculture movement.

Feed the Soil, Feed the People

Presented by TOM RUGGIERI, LEIGH WAGNER
Food is medicine for the soil and for humans. Tom Ruggieri and Leigh Wagner will share why the food we feed the soil affects the quality of the food we eat and its ultimate impact on human health (or disease)

Download Presentation

Fruit tree variety selection for the Kansas City Area

Presented by MATT BUNCH
Not all fruit trees are created equal, find out what varieties will work in organic, biologic, and low spray growing situations

Getting started with Goats and Goats on the Go!

Presented by HALEY DRAKE, MARGARET CHAMAS
Haley will shed light on her experience as a small farmer with goats, the milk, the cheese, the soap. And, Margaret will enlighten you to the wonder of the no-gas powered machine that is a goat, no need to use poisonous herbicides or large equipment, harness the power of Goat.

Download Chamas Presentation

Grants and other funding sources

Presented by SARAH JORDAN, KERRI EBERT
Learn about sources of available federal and foundation grant funding & basics on submitting a proposal.

Download NC-SARE Presentation
Download Cultivate KC Presentation

How to Get Your Farm-to-the-Restaurant-Table

Presented by JILL SILVA, KARA ANDERSON, KATE JOHNSON, RICK MULLINS
Farm-to-table restaurants usually post blackboards with long lists of purveyors, so their diners know exactly where the kale in their salad or the sweet potato in their stew has been grown. But how do you start your own growing relationship with a chef? We’ll discuss how to identify chefs who might be interested in collaborating to showcase locally grown foods. This panel will include Kara Anderson, executive chef of The Sundry; Rick Mullins, executive chef of Café Sebastienne; and farmer Kate Johnson of Roots, Fruits and Greens Farm in Easton, Kan. The talk will be moderated by food writer Jill Silva

Local Flowers in Kansas City: so much more is possible

Presented by KIRSTEN BOSNAK, ZABETH CHANG
For flower lovers, gardeners and vegetable growers looking to add flowers, Kirsten will provide information resources, flowers to grow, and observations on the Kansas City market and its greater potential. Zabeth will share her experience & knowledge on growing and selling flowers for market.

Download Bosnak Presentation

Platte Land Trust

Presented by CARLA DODS
Protecting Your Farm: Issues, Challenges, and Tools for Long-term Protection.

Research updates from K-State

Presented by KELLY GUDE, TRICIA JENKINS, PAUL ANDERSEN
Go beyond the field as we receive an update on the exciting research being done at K-State’s Olathe Horticulture Research and Extension on cover crops (OHREC) for high tunnels, production updates with photos from “caterpillar” tunnel production of lettuce and additional updates from K-State Olathe’s Postharvest Physiology Lab.

Download Light Effects Presentation
Download Extending Life Presentation

Urban Farming and Neighborhood Impact

Presented by DAN KRULL, SELINA O’NEAL, OBIAGELE, WILBON AUGUSTA
Join us for a discussion about how we can be mindful of perception, have a positive impact, and avoid having negative impacts in neighborhoods where we choose to grow.