Urban farms booming in Kansas City - KCTV5 News

Urban farms booming in Kansas City

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The sound of chickens and ducks is not what most people would expect to hear in one of the city's historic neighborhoods.  But that's the sound resonating from backyards, thanks to the growing popularity of urban farms. The sound of chickens and ducks is not what most people would expect to hear in one of the city's historic neighborhoods. But that's the sound resonating from backyards, thanks to the growing popularity of urban farms.
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

The sound of chickens and ducks is not what most people would expect to hear in one of the city's historic neighborhoods. But that's the sound resonating from backyards, thanks to the growing popularity of urban farms.

The city changed the zoning ordinance a few years ago to allow people to grow food in residential areas.

Christine Shuck and her husband Dave started an urban farm after moving to historic northeast Kansas City from Belton a couple of years ago.

The farm, called the Deadly Nightshade Urban Farm, stretches across multiple lots, where vacant homes once stood.

In addition to their flock of chickens, which Shuck said lay about a dozen eggs a day, traditional crops like potatoes, pumpkin and watermelon can be found on the farm.

Shuck loves the idea of having fresh farm food growing just feet away from her dinner table.

"I have always liked the idea of coming out into my yard and being able to eat the plants that are there," said Shuck.

Ami Freeberg with Cultivate Kansas City, a local nonprofit focused on growing food and farms in support of a sustainable food system, said the popularity of urban farms started exploding three to four years ago.

"I think people are starting to recognize that fresh food is important and that it's possible to grow it in the city," said Freeberg.

Located a few blocks from Shuck's farm is a farm with a different look.

Jeff Helkenberg, and his partner Jessica Logsdon, are the co-founders of Pink Pony Farms.

Their farm grows both traditional and nontraditional crops, with an increasing emphasis on the latter.

Helkenberg said the farm usually surprises people visiting it for the first time because it's essentially a dwarf forest, and looks different from a traditional farm with neat rows of crops.

"So their initial reaction is that they see some chaos. They're expecting more organization," said Helkenberg.

Helkenberg said there are advantages to having an urban farm, especially if selling the crops at a market.

"The goal is to be able to get those to consumers the day they're picked," said Helkenberg.

Shuck's and Helkeberg's farms are just two of the 30 sites you can visit on the Urban Grown Tour this weekend.

For a list of Kansas City area farms and gardens welcoming visitors on the tour, as well as ticket information and directions, visit Cultivate Kansas City's Urban Grown Tour website.

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