As more Americans go without enough food during the coronavirus pandemic, one East Community nonprofit is trying to fill a gap in the city's urban core. It's the brainchild of the late local lawmaker Carol Coe.
It doesn’t take long to realize Bill Coe is passionate about what he does in the greenhouse at East High School. Coe is director and CEO of Green Acres Urban Farm and Research Project, which is surrounded by some of Kansas City’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods.
Around here, fast food is more common than salad bars. But Coe is doing his part to educate and expose kids to agriculture, while growing fresh produce and protein organically. Then, he’s giving the food away to families who need it.
“You're really teaching outside of the textbooks and really taking the science, and the applications of science, and putting them into motion,” Coe said on a recent tour of the building. “That's why I love our project.” He’s doing all this while food insecurity across the country and in Kansas City has gotten worse because of the coronavirus pandemic, particularly for Black, Latino and immigrant households, many of which send their kids to East High.
When the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities looked at recent census data, they found more than 20% of Black and Latino adults reported not having enough to eat, compared to 9% of white Americans. Green Acres was founded by Carol Coe in what was then an abandoned greenhouse at Kansas City' s East High School. “A lot of people don't have an idea that this is going on here, actually,” said Elsa Mecado, about Green Acres.
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