Diana Eisman Greenhouse Groundbreaking at Stowe Farm
Earlier this year, the Department of Planning and Urban Design in Kansas City, KS kicked off PlanKCK, an update to the city’s 2008 master plan. This master plan, along with city-wide efforts to address economic development and housing, will provide content to the 2023 Citywide Comprehensive Plan.
Members of the planning department joined New Roots for Refugees farmers, interpreters, and staff from Cultivate KC and Catholic Charities to hear ideas from these residents and small business owners about how city services can be more supportive. To begin, planner Alyssa Marcy asked farmers about current policies that present challenges to operating small farms. Responses included the difficulty of accessing Land Bank properties for farming activities, ordinances regulating livestock in non-ag zones, a lack of sales outlets, and language barriers when filing paperwork required to build farm-related accessory structures. Farmers also noted that they would benefit from better housing and transportation options located near land that is appropriate for urban farming as well as healthcare options for residents with partial-year employment.
When asked what policies could be put in place that would benefit small farmers, suggestions touched on small business subsidy and loan programs as well as alternative GED programs designed specifically for refugees and residents for whom English is not a first language. Lastly, the planners opened the floor to general suggestions of what should change in KCK. Answers ranged from the basic – fix potholes – to the complex – better compensation for people who work hard but aren’t adequately rewarded. Farmers also noted that language barriers exist in most city processes like those encountered when applying for a loan or purchasing land.
If you would like to learn more about PlanKCK and share your thoughts on how to make Kansas City a better place, visit wycokck.org/PlanKCK.