US (MO): offering $500,000 in grants for urban farmers

For the second consecutive year, Missouri has set aside $500,000 to address food insecurity in urban areas. But for farmers like Darian and Nicolette Davis, who run an orchard in Kansas City’s Swope Park, even applying for a grant opportunity is a challenge. News that the Missouri legislature has authorized $500,000 for urban farming grants ought to be welcomed by small growers like Darian and Nicolette Davis, who run an orchard in Kansas City’s Swope Park to provide fresh fruit to their community.

The couple hatched the idea of the Kansas City Urban Farm Co-op during the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014 following the killing of a teenager, Michael Brown, by a police officer. They wanted to respond to that incident by doing something positive for their own community, which led to the launch of their farm in 2016.

Darian Davis sees a systemic injustice in the gap between communities where nutritious food is abundant and others where it is lacking. He describes it as “food apartheid.”

“So we’re talking about kids with single-parent households, a lot of them didn’t have cars, and they’re living off of low-value, high-priced foodstuffs,” he said. “So to witness that, we really started thinking about how serious this problem is. We said, ‘Hey, instead of complaining about it, what can we do to make a difference?’”


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