Darian Davis co-founded the Kansas City Urban Farm Co-op (KCUFC) in 2016 hoping to reconnect his community with the origins of their food while creating a sustainable urban agriculture system.
The KCUFC is a locally owned and member operated urban farm and orchard located in Swope Park. At a cost of $5 a month, members enjoy access to the produce grown on site, free mulch, use of garden space, and share in any profits made from the sale of produce.
“Knowing how to feed ourselves and being in control of our destiny in our own community is key,” says Davis.
KCUFC boasts the largest orchard in the city with more than 200 fruit-bearing trees. The orchard produces cherries, apples, pears, peaches, and blackberries.
Alongside the orchard, members grow corn, potatoes, collards, cabbages, lettuce, and some of the spiciest peppers in the world.
Granted funding from the city, the KCUFC took an unused plot in Swope Park and transformed it.
As part of their agreement with the city, KCUFC hosts annual community events and donates a portion of the food they produce.
“We give away a lot more than we sell,” says Davis. “We gave away hundreds of starter plants last year to the community, just anybody that wanted to come out.”
Davis and KCUFC Manager Nicolette Paige-Davis view a lack of access to healthy food as one of the preeminent problems facing the Black community.
Their work at KCUFC aims to increase food access and offer educational opportunities. They host workshops at the orchard to teach growing techniques and volunteer days to involve the community.
KCUFC also organizes community events like the upcoming Summer Solstice Celebration on June 24. The celebration will feature cherry picking, live entertainment, authentic Jamaican cuisine, and numerous Black-owned vendors. The event is free to the public, but donations are welcome.
Kansas City Urban Farm Co-op
5051 East Gregory Boulevard, KCMOVisit KCUFC.org for more information