Indigenous Community Center Hosts Cultivate KC for Staff Volunteer Day

Posted on October 2, 2023 by Alicia Alferman

Cultivate KC staff traveled to the Indigenous Community Center’s Nanasoohannena Farm in Lawrence, Kansas for a day of volunteer labor on Friday, September 8. We set to work weeding produce beds under the guidance Robert Hicks, a leader with ICC. While we were there, Robert told us a lot about the ICC and its work at this incubator farm. 

During a tour of Nanasoohannena Farm (which means “Respect for one another” in Paiute language), Robert told us that the ICC has Indigenous members whose ancestral land stretches across North America. The farm is a place where members grow traditional crops from their homelands and pollinator gardens as a way to connect to their culture and heritage. In addition to crops like tomatoes, elderberries, and ceremonial tobacco, Robert pointed out wild strawberries and sunflowers that have flourished because of their agricultural approach. Seeing their Three Sisters planting—corn, beans, and squash all growing together—was a real treat. 

Cultivate staff was especially excited to see a bed of Kernza, a newly developed perennial wheat strain. Kernza is a great crop for many reasons, among which are that its root system grows deep like native grasses, which helps with soil quality and drought resistance. Robert told us they planted that bed as part of a grant from Kernza in KC. 

The Indigenous Community Center hosts volunteers at Nanasoohannena Farm most Thursdays from 4-8pm, and most Sundays from 10am-2pm. You can learn more and sign up to volunteer HERE. 

written by Eli O’Sullivan Kurtz, Food Access Farmers Market Specialist