Thinking of raising food in your backyard?

Local center can help

KANSAS CITY, Kansas - This great weather may have you thinking about getting dirty in the garden.

And if food prices have got you thinking about growing your own, you'll want some advice on how to do it right.

At the Kansas City Center for Urban Agriculture , they have a saying.

"We grow food, we grow farmers," said Alicia Ellingsworth.

The food part they've got down; they grow about 25,000 pounds of vegetables each year on this two acre, certified organic farm just off Interstate 635 in Kansas City, Kansas.

They sell their harvest at farmer's markets around town. But the other fruit of their labors is to link people who are interested in growing, with people who are doing it successfully.

"There's so many assets and resources in this community. One of the things we do is we connect people with all of those resources," Jill Erickson of the center said.

And more people seem to be interested every year, for a variety of reasons, including health concerns, environmental issues and something more esoteric.

"This is just an area that intersects a lot of interests for people," Erickson said.

"Younger people are coming, older people are coming … people who want to grow food, but people, too, who just feel disconnected to life," Ellingsworth observed.

If you think the land is speaking to you, here they say you're probably right.

"It's time. It's time to plant spinach. It's time to plant salad mix. Peas. We're putting in green beans next week," Ellingsworth said.

Every other year the center does a self-guided tour of successful urban farms. The last tour had 2,000 attendees; they expect 3,500 this year.

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