Growing Community at Westport Commons Farm

Posted on September 22, 2022 by Alicia Alferman

An update from Westport Commons Farm Site Manager, Emily Schaeffer:

High tunnel tomatoes are outgrowing trellises, melon vines are claiming more space than their once oversized-looking plots, and the last plantings of summer melons, Jing orange okra, and noodle beans are giving their last hurrah. Spinach, radish, beets, and carrots are sprouting, or hopefully they will be soon. I always cross my fingers for the carrots. I’m looking forward to planting a variety of cabbages and colorful winter cooking greens within the next week or two as they’re threatening to bust out of their tiny plastic cells. I’m also very excited to plant several areas of the farm in various cover crops to stabilize and enrich our soils, benefit wildlife, pollinators, and insects, and suppress weeds.

We’ve had a plethora of volunteers and visitors at Westport over the last few months! Here’s a quick rundown.

We’ve had the Mandela Washington Fellows from K-State; a group of young African leaders visit us, who come to the states for a 6-week leadership institute in civic engagement. They are incredible people with insightful questions and amazing stories. It was an honor to host them. Members of the Smart Agricultural Entrepreneurship Program for Sustainable Urban Food Ecosystems visited us to brainstorm new ways to upcycle food waste and tour the farm. We also had several groups of young students from elementary to high school age visit. Most were from the KC metro, but we also had the Lincoln University AgDiscovery Program, which was comprised of high schoolers from around the US.

Our volunteers are the best! First and foremost, I want to acknowledge and thank the Centurions for selecting Cultivate KC as their Legacy project. The Centurions are part of a two-year leadership development program through the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. They have been at Westport so many times this summer helping us construct our community compost area and various other farm tasks. I think this is appropriate considering most centurions, the kind that live to be over 100, have vegetable gardens of their own. We’ve also had several other individuals and groups help at the farm. An AmeriCorps group of future teaching assistants, some students from St. Paul’s Episcopal Day School, future doctors from surrounding universities, Cerner Sabbatical participants, salon owners, preachers, and neighbors of the farm have all lent a hand to help grow veggies and beautify the space. It’s been fun working alongside these amazing humans.

Want to be a part of the crew? We have weekly volunteer days Thursdays from 9AM-12AM at the Westport Commons Farm. If that doesn’t work for your schedule or you need more time with your hands in the soil, we also host one Saturday per month for volunteer days. The next one is Saturday, October 1st. Bring your own water bottle and we’ll provide the gloves. Hope to see you there!