Barstow Elementary is the oldest independent, co-educational college preparatory school in Kansas City. Over the hundred years of education, its original mission has stayed true: “to promote sound scholarship and to give symmetrical development to mind, body, and character.” Their mission is reflected in their decision to establish a Giving Grove ‘edible tree garden’ on their campus. Twenty-four fruit trees were planted by volunteer teachers, students, and parents in the Spring of 2013. In 2014, Barstow added a 24-foot row of Blackberries! The staff is excited to challenge the students’ minds by guiding them in caring for the trees, nurturing their bodies with fresh fruit, and building character by donating part of the produce back to the community.
Kansas Bhutanese Community Garden
Kansas Bhutanese Community Garden was started in May 2012, through a partnership between Kansas Bhutanese Community Foundation, Cultivate Kansas City, and Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas. The garden site is about one acre total on what was previously a vacant city lot. The garden serves the Bhutanese refugee community in Kansas City Kansas, providing fresh and familiar vegetables to the gardeners and their families. About 27 families are involved, and more families being introduced each year. The new Giving Grove ‘edible tree garden’ of fruit trees, berries, and strawberries is a shared community space, and will be the joint responsibility of several garden leaders. The fruit harvested in the years to come will be shared among the gardeners and the Bhutanese community, and any excess may be sold at a farmers market in the neighborhood. Money from fruit and vegetable sales will help cover the cost of garden water bills.
Cherith Brook is a residential Christian community committed to sharing table fellowship with strangers and all their resources with one another. They reach beyond spiritual enlightenment and work to provide a safe place with showers, clean clothes, and nutritious food to anyone in need. In order to support their strong commitment of feeding the hungry, they have created a diverse food garden with chickens, vegetables, and fruit scattered in every empty ground on the lot. The Giving Grove guided volunteers in planting 27 fruit and nut trees, 19 berry shrubs, and 150 strawberries. They also have added Goumi berries where there once was a parking area, and native Pawpaw and a persimmon have been added to the adjoining property. Beyond perennial food sources, they’ve created a sustainable lifestyle that includes rain catchment systems, solar power, a wood-burning stove, hoop house and low tunnels, and a low-tech gray water system. Cherith Brook’s ‘edible tree garden’ and way of living will be feeding the neighborhood’s body and soul for many years to come.
Conception Community Garden
Conception Community Garden was started by the Oak Park Community group at the New Rising Star Missionary Baptist Church. Their vision is to bring “new life” into the neighborhood by creating a space not only to grow food but to share it through community harvest events, vegetable swaps, and potlucks. Spring 2013 brought on big growth as they transformed an empty parking lot into a community garden space and a grassy hill into a Giving Grove ‘edible tree garden.’ A big focus of their continuous building is to use repurposed materials including old tires, cut up water totes, collected wood, etc. They also have a 7,000 gal tank harvesting rainwater from the church roof. With the 28 raised beds, 26 fruit trees, 22 berry shrubs, and 300 strawberry plants added to their existing beds, trees, and chickens, Conception will produce an abundance of food for their neighborhood today and years ahead.
Habitat ReStore - Independence
With the support of the Independence Health Department, Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Independence has begun a garden project to help provide the community with fresh fruits and vegetables. Starting with a few raised beds, Giving Grove helped expand their production by adding 40 raspberry, blueberry, and blackberry shrubs. The beds will be maintained and harvested by community gardeners as well as Restore staff and volunteers, and the berry patch will be a u-pick for community members. Another unique aspect of the garden is a passively heated greenhouse shared by those who want to start their own seedlings. Future plans are to add more raised beds including strawberries from the Giving Grove. Currently, local Boy Scout groups, high school students, the Independence Garden Club, and Health Dept. and Restore volunteers have been actively involved with the expansion and upkeep of the garden. With a true community effort, the Habitat ReStore in Independence is going beyond just providing affordable shelter supplies for the neighborhood but also healthy food.
Learn Grow Give, a joint venture of Kansas City Community Gardens, Friends of Hale Cook, and The Giving Grove, was chosen as the 2012-2013 Centurion Legacy Project by the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. In addition to funding, the grant program provided several hundred volunteer service hours.
Learn Grow Give focused on revitalization of the grounds at Hale Cook Elementary School, located at 73rd Street and Pennsylvania Ave. in Kansas City, which closed in 2009. Ashley Hand, chair of Friends of Hale Cook, highlighted the Learn Grow Give Project as a unique opportunity to bring life and new purpose to the school grounds as the neighborhood sought to reopen the school. And the great news – Hale Cook Elementary in now back in operation!
Jerusalem Farm is a Catholic intentional community located in Kansas City, Missouri, built on the four cornerstones of Prayer, Community, Service, and Simplicity. Volunteers learn about the importance of sustainability and stewardship of the Earth while tending to home repairs in the local area. Jerusalem Farm recently installed their first community garden including chickens and with the partnership of The Giving Grove added five fruit trees. Working hard to serve their community, they are seeking to secure other deserted land in the city and develop them into community gardens and orchards to help produce food for the neighborhoods.
Mitzvah Garden KC
Starting with just a few raised beds at Village Shalom, The Mitzvah Garden KC, also located at The Temple, Congregation B’nai Jehudah, expanded into a 15,000 sq. ft. gathering, growing, and learning space for the Jewish community. Focusing on their goal to provide healthy food to those less fortunate, they donate over 8000 lbs of produce yearly to the Jewish Family Services food pantry, Blue Valley Multi Service Center and Grandview Assistance Program. The Giving Grove, with volunteers of all ages, has planted 19 fruit trees, a blackberry bed and a row of bush cherries to expand the diversity and sustainable food available from the garden. The Mitzvah Orchard has expanded the garden area by an additional 5,000 square feet. Beyond raising awareness about helping the hungry, the Mitzvah Garden strives to be a peaceful, exploratory environment to celebrate and learn both spiritually and secularly. Though they’ve continued to expand their garden, their true motto is: “It takes a garden to grow a community.”
Metropolitan Lutheran Ministries
Kansas City Community Gardens and The Giving Grove are working closely with Metro Lutheran Ministries (MLM) helping them achieve their mission to fill the urban food desert with a bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Starting in 2012, MLM established two sites, the MLM Food Pantry Garden and the Spring Valley Community Garden and Orchard, which together contain 18 raised beds, 20 blackberry shrubs, and 113 fruit trees. The Food Pantry Garden produce is specifically grown to stock MLM’s community food pantry and the raised beds at the Spring Valley site are for community gardeners. The fruit from the trees and shrubs will be distributed back to the Mt. Hope and Boston Heights neighborhoods. Gratefully, the planting and maintenance of the projects has been supported by volunteer in-state and out-of-state youth groups, local corporate groups, and individuals. MLM and The Giving Grove are very excited about the ‘edible tree garden’s’ potential to contribute thousands of pounds of fresh food back to the community each year.
St. Paul's United Methodist of Lenexa
St. Paul’s Edible Tree and Vegetable Garden project is a program sponsored by the congregations’ environmental ministry team - Being Environmental Stewards Together (BEST). St. Paul’s has had a very active hunger ministry for many years, supporting monthly Argentine Food Kitchen meals, providing donations to three local food pantries (Metropolitan Avenue Methodist Church, Johnson County Multi-services Center Food Pantry, and Shawnee Community Services), delivering meals to the homebound through Meals on Wheels, and providing meals for families in the Interfaith Hospitality Network. The fruit and vegetable community garden is a natural extension to the hunger ministry. One of the key objectives is to raise the nutritional profile of the food the congregation donates to the local food pantries. The garden includes five dwarf varieties of fruit, 48 feet of blackberry bushes, and eight beds of vegetable (with four more planned). The infrastructure also includes a 500-gallon water storage system utilizing the church’s pond water, a new garden shed, and also includes a separate 500-gallon rain harvest system. The trees and vegetable beds rely solely on the water from the church pond and the rain-harvest system.
Wyandotte Countians Against Crime
Wyandotte Countains Against Crime (WCAC) is an organization in Central Kansas City, Kansas dedicated to creating and supporting projects and events that help stop crime and start beautifying their neighborhood. WCAC partnered with The Giving Grove to create an ‘edible tree garden’ in a road intersection median. With the vision of providing a space for local neighbors to gather and grow food, they planted 22 fruit trees and 21 berry shrubs. Future plans include installing raised vegetable beds and a gazebo. Local neighbors are excited to see a once bare ground that collected trash transform into an attractive, positive socializing and food producing park.
Blue Hills Community Service
The Blue Hills Community Services Business Center and Contractor Incubator building at 5008 Prospect is an example of transforming a blighted building into efficient, usable space. The LEED Gold-certified building features many “green” amenities, such as 48 solar collectors (enough for 10,000kWh of electricity!), and a 6,500 -gallon cistern that collects storm water off the roof to be reused in the landscape. The landscape features a 34-raised bed community garden (managed in partnership with Kansas City Community Gardens) and a micro-orchard that includes 18 fruit trees and raised beds that include blackberries, raspberries, and seven bush cherries. The installation was a partnership that included local neighbors and volunteers from William Jewell College.
The garden at Cross-Lines Community Outreach, Inc was founded in 2007. In a typical season, they grow about 4,500 lbs of vegetables on just under a quarter-acre plot of land. They also have eight raised beds in addition to the main plot. In October of 2013 the Giving Grove helped plant a 14-tree orchard and a strawberry bed. In 2014 a row of raspberries and blackberries was added. Cross-Lines gives away a majority of the produce that they grow at no cost to low income Wyandotte county residents through a Food Pantry program.
The Garden of Eatin' is a church sponsored garden grown for those who need/want fresh fruits and vegetables to supplement their meals. Many of the recipients of the food grown also help tend the garden. The vegetable garden consists of many raised beds, and in ground grapes and blackberries. The edible tree garden includes 20 fruit trees (Asian pears, European pears and apples) which were planted by many members of the congregation with the coaching of the Giving Grove.
The Gillis Center provides education, emotional support and mentoring to emotionally and behaviorally distressed boys and their families. The Giving Grove at Gillis is part of an outdoor classroom that not only features the fruit trees, but also raised vegetable beds, native plantings, and natural sculptures in a playground type setting. The fruit and vegetables will feed the physical need while the outdoor classroom addresses education and the emotional needs of the students. This edible tree garden includes 18 trees (Jujubes, Asian pears, Peaches, Cherries, Apples) and a raised bed of blackberries.
Kauffman Community Garden and Orchard
In 2013, the Kauffman Foundation looked to the KCCG and the Giving Grove for guidance in establishing a raised-bed community garden and orchard on the eastern portion of the Foundation’s property. In the fall of 2013 the first set of 32 raised beds were installed, followed by 38 fruit trees installed by the Giving Grove and volunteers from both UMKC and Rockhurst University. In spring of 2014, 28 more vegetable beds were added, six berry beds were installed and more fruit and nut trees were added to the orchard. The raised beds have been gardened by neighbors and employees of surrounding businesses. All of the fruit is for the community and all excess will be gleaned by After the Harvest. A sample of everything the Giving Grove makes available can be found on this nearly two- acre site along the Brush Creek and Troost Corridors, which includes 51 fruit trees, pecans, hazelnuts, hybrid almond, jujubee, figs, blueberries, bush cherries, blackberries, and raspberries.
Palestine Senior Activity Center
Palestine Senior Activity Center is located in the Palestine/Oak Park neighborhood in KCMO. This center offers its senior patrons, a safe and healthy environment, which includes a daily lunch featuring healthy choices, and a wellness program. This site includes six raised beds for vegetable gardens and eight fruit trees. The beds and the fruit trees are tended by members of the activity center and the produce goes to the center’s patrons. The 8 trees include peaches, cherries, apples, and Asian pears.
Rosedale Community Garden
The South Early Street Garden in Rosedale was established in 2011. Since then, Rosedale Development Association (RDA) has installed raised beds, a trellis, fencing and water tanks. Most recently, the Giving Grove helped to provide and plant five fruit trees. The community garden is tended by neighbors as well as the Rosedale Development Association located down the street. The produce from the orchard will be designated for the neighborhood. This edible tree garden includes apples and Asian pears.
Waterstone is a large multifamily apartment complex located in Rosedale. The complex advocates a unique community enrichment program designed to foster ongoing education, self-reliance, healthy lifestyles and the idea that “no matter where you find yourself, it is where you are going that matters the most.” To that end, the apartment complex has installed six raised community vegetable beds, blackberry and raspberry beds, along with an edible tree garden that includes peaches, apples, Asian pears, and European pears. The produce goes to the gardeners and to the Waterstone community center where it can be purchased by the residents.