One metro farming business is using a small space to make a big difference for local military veterans. Urban Bounty Farms uses creative ways to grow food inside. FOX4 first told you about their 6,000-square-foot East Bottoms location in April. Now, Chief Farmer Lena Sleyster has created a similar, but much smaller, option in Lee’s Summit…inside a container farm. “I just like working around the plants,” said Army veteran Tim Schmidling.
He’s been working inside the 320-square-foot container where roughly 12,000 individual microgreens and edible flowers are growing. “You come in one day and do your stuff, and you come in three days later, and it’s like, ‘Oh, wow,” Schmidling said.
The former container adds another 125 pounds of greens to Sleyster’s weekly harvest while using five gallons of filters and recycled water. Local restaurants like Noka, Libations & Company, and Calaveras source some of their food from Urban Bounty Farms, while individual customers can order weekly produce packages.
“Edible flowers or micro greens, it’s finding something that was sustainably grown that they’re not able to find and providing it to them year-round,” Sleyster said. By working with veterans who have gone through UMKC’s training, Sleyster is able to help vets like Tim get “a position to do a job that they want to do, that they aspire to do,” Sleyster said.
After his time in the Army, a bout with cancer made Tim give up his career working on cars. “It made me a lot of money, but this is a lot more satisfying,” Schmidling said. “You got a lot of guys out here that need a hand up, and I’m glad that they got me in this direction because it looks like there’s going to be some good outcomes.”