Cultivate KC’s Westport Commons Farm is an urban farm in the heart of midtown Kansas City.
Located on 39th Street between Main Street and Gillham Road, Westport Commons Farm places Cultivate Kansas City in the crossroads of diverse communities that are hungry for good food.
The farm aims to be a beautiful, organic urban farm that creates a place for neighborhood residents and businesses to connect with their food and with each other. Westport Commons Farm will generate and demonstrate the social, economic and environmental value of urban agriculture to a vital and thriving community.
Cultivate KC is using a cover cropping method for our Westport Commons Farm with the goal of improving the soil for vegetable and fruit production. This method, also referred to as green manuring, uses large, fast-growing plants to pump sugars into the soil while they grow and that provide organic material for the soil when they die.
Soil is not just dirt. It is a complex ecosystem of symbiotic and competitive organisms. The backbone of that system is live, growing plants.
Plants are like natural solar panels that make energy by using the sun’s rays with water and gases to produce glucose, a type of sugar, through photosynthesis. The plants use this sugar as food to grow and reproduce.
But 80 percent of that sugar is exuded into the soil through their roots. The exudate feed bacteria, fungi and even other plants.
The bacteria and fungi, in turn, transform the soil structure around the plant. They aggregate soil ingredients, create connections to nutrients deep in the soil, convert nutrients and minerals into plant-available forms, and create connections to other plants.
An acre of healthy soil has 2,400 lbs of hungry bacteria. When you harvest the crop and leave the field barren, the bacteria starve and the soil begins to degrade and erode.