Alan & Yolanda Young had a backyard garden, but it’s now grown into a mission-focused for-profit urban farm in one of Kansas City’s largest Black neighborhoods. Located in the Ivanhoe neighborhood on 39th and Wayne, the Young Family Farm represents the concerted efforts to alleviate food insecurity. 

When the Ivanhoe Farmer’s Market began in 2011, the Young family wanted to expand their operation to provide fresh produce to their neighborhood that faces food insecurity. Since then, the Youngs have cobbled together about an acre of food-producing land across four sites.

“We want to show that farming isn’t just a rural-White-folks thing. There are people who look like me and who live in an environment similar to where I live, who are making this work,” says Alana Henry, the eldest daughter of Alan & Yolanda Young. 

The Young Family Farm grows in all three distinct seasons: spring, summer, and fall. Their bounty changes seasonally, but they grow chard, broccoli, eggplant, garlic, peppers, squash, and multiple varieties of kale, beets, and lettuce. 

“We do try to grow culturally relevant food, like greens, purple hull peas, black-eyed peas, and green tomatoes, you name it,” says Henry. “We grow food that fits what the community wants.”

Heading into 2020, the Youngs started a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), a membership program that provides members a box of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season.  When COVID hit, the service became a lifeline for many in the neighborhood. During the pandemic, farmer’s markets were also closed, so they started selling onsite every Saturday. Both practices have proved popular and continue today, so popular that the Youngs had to bring in outside volunteers and temporary workers to keep up with the high demand. 

Young Family Farm

3816 Wayne Ave., KCMO

Market open Saturdays 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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