Kansas Metropolis Neighborhood Gardens make contemporary, wholesome meals reasonably priced

KANSAS CITY, MO – Tomato Days sales in Kansas City Community Gardens begin Thursday, offering families an affordable way to grow their own fresh and healthy produce.

The annual sale marks the unofficial start of the summer planting season. Members can choose from a wide variety of discounted seeds, vegetables, and herbal plants.

Kansas City Community Gardens is a not-for-profit organization that aims to help low-income households grow their own vegetable gardens and provide access to fresh and affordable health food products.

Executive Director Ben Sharda said they saw a huge surge in membership during the pandemic.

“We saw quite a number of people who were just concerned about healthy eating but also found good healthy family activities to do outside together,” Sharda said.

The aim of the organization is to make gardening accessible to everyone who wants to try it out.

Membership cost is based on household income and ranges from $ 2 to $ 25 per year.

Each member receives 10 packets of seeds and 10 pounds of organic fertilizer. You can also buy more seeds, vegetables, fertilizers, and gardening tools at discounted prices.

For those who don’t have enough space to have a garden in their home, they can sign up to rent a garden plot at one of the organization’s nine Kansas City locations.

Kansas City Community Garden also works with other community groups and schools to create gardens in their locations.

Last year the group supported more than 600 community and school yard gardens and orchards as well as more than 2,500 house gardens.

“The upside is that people have better access to food,” Sharda said. “But there are also all of the community building benefits of people working on projects together, or even just neighbors sharing products over the back fence. There are just all kinds of ways for people to connect while growing food.”

Longtime volunteer Roger Shelton called it one of Kansas City’s best kept secrets.

“I volunteer here every time I get a chance,” Shelton said. “It’s a wonderful place to volunteer.”

Instead of keeping the products he grows, Shelton passes them on to people who may not be able to grow their own gardens. He gave away £ 1,400 of products last year and £ 1,800 the year before. He said his goal this year is to give away a ton.

“I just enjoy watching things grow,” he said. “And I’m very happy with giving things away, and I feel good about it.”

If someone is concerned that they may not have the ideal growing conditions, there may be more options, according to Sharda.

For those who don’t have a lot of space, container gardening could be a solution.

Humans can use any large container that is at least 12 inches in diameter. This could be a large plant pot or a 5 gallon plastic bucket that can be bought at a hardware store.

The container should have drainage holes in the bottom to keep the soil from getting too wet and rot the roots of the plant.

Certain vegetables are better for containers than others. These include tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant.

However, people should keep in mind that vegetables usually require full sunlight to grow, which means at least six hours of sunlight a day.

For those who may not have a lot of sunlight in their homes, there are other options as well.

Certain root vegetables such as beets, carrots and potatoes can grow in partial shade. Leafy vegetables tolerate poor light best, such as Swiss chard, spinach and lettuce. People can also try growing herbs in partial sunlight such as basil, mint, and parsley.

Kansas City Community Gardens offers several mini-tutorials as well as free virtual workshops on its Facebook page.

The next one is on May 7th on Cooking with Spring Vegetables. People can register on the gardens website.

Further information on how to register for a membership is available here.

You can find more information about the Tomato Days 2021 here:

  • What: a reduced sale of seeds, vegetables, and herbs, including tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, tomatoes, and more; Sold in packs of 3 plants, with a maximum of 10 packs per member
  • When: 9:00 am to 4:00 pm on April 29th, this event is for low income households only
  • When: On April 30th from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., this event is open to all members
  • Where: 6917 Kensington Ave, Kansas City, MO 64132

Memberships can also be purchased at the Tomato Days Sale.

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