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RE: selling produce from gardens

  • Subject: RE: [cg] selling produce from gardens
  • From: "Kerr, Thomas J." <KerrT@missouri.edu>
  • Date: Thu, 26 Apr 2001 18:29:13 -0500

Lisa, Soleil and other would-be market gardeners,
I always say, go for it when it comes to market gardening. The Troost Community Market is in part supported by a couple MO Dept of Ag grants which encourage various aspects of urban marketing for rural and urban growers. The Market is in a region of Kansas City, MIssouri which hasn't seen a successful revitalization in 30 years. Finally we think we've got one and at the center of the efforts is access to fresh fruits and veggies grown (strictly) by local growers. Incidently, all of the arts & craft vendors make their wares locally, and the non-profit tablers provide educational information to our customers. Saturday mornings from 8am-1pm on the NE corner of Linwood and Troost in Midtown Kansas City. 

The Troost Community Market is entering a third season. Through efforts by the Food Circles Networking Project, of University of Missouri Outreach and Extension, the Market Committee established relationships with Kansas City Community Gardens' urban growers. These 100-plus growers grow on 25x40 ft plots and some raised beds at the 10 acre urban garden located on the former "Old Ballpark" where the Atheletics played prior to moving to Oakland, and the Monarchs played when they entered the Negro League in 1920. 

In the first year, the Troost Community Market had two growers out of those 100-plus who sold side by side of rural farmers. Not only do rural farmers pay for their land in taxes, they drive farther, and have many other costs associated with farming. However, both growers made money, and both toil in the soil. The motto of Food Circles became the motto of the market and subsequently the venders: buy your produce from a face you can see and a farm you can visit. And the two types of farmers, urban & rural, primarily white and black, have one thing they can claim in common - they grow good food and can tell you just what went into each tomato and leaf of lettuce. For this the customers of the Market also learn about rural families and their special breed of troubles - we call that community development when we're writing grants, and we call it just getting along when money's not an issue. 

So should community gardeners sell side by side with professional farmers? Not only should they, but urban - even rural - markets should do more to encourage community gardeners to sell produce. Not only do cg's provide more locally (therefore fresher) produce into a food system, but community gardeners also share in the environmental rewards as well as economic rewards of their labor. 

Someone asked about theft - the single concern that Kansas City Community Gardens has regarding publicizing that the big vacant lot has market-quality produce is in deterring theft. So when we had the t.v. cameras down to the Market on opening day and they wanted to also shoot a shot of one of the growers bent over her greens, well we made the cameraman shoot at an angle so as not to identify the garden geographically. But since so many people don't know that food comes from a garden, and since french fries don't grow on the vine, we figure there's not much trouble that a little p.r. would add much to anyway. 

Hope this answers any questions, or better yet eases your mind about market gardening,


Tom Kerr 
Food Circles Networking Project - Kansas City 
University of Missouri Outreach and Extension 
2700 E. 18th Street, Suite 240 
Kansas City, MO 64127 
tel: (816) 482-5888 
fax: (816) 482-5880 


-----Original Message-----
From: SoleilPaz@aol.com [mailto:SoleilPaz@aol.com]
Sent: Thursday, April 26, 2001 4:45 PM
To: lpreschelquinn@trinitycounty.org; community_garden@mallorn.com
Subject: Re: [cg] selling produce from gardens

In a message dated 04/26/2001 2:31:33 PM Pacific Daylight Time, 
lpreschelquinn@trinitycounty.org writes: 

I am wondering about selling things from our community gardens.  We have 2 
small gardens that are part of a food security project.  We distribute the 
food to the food banks but this year we made plots available to families.   
Some folks would like to try selling at the farmer's markets.  Would it be 
unfair competition since our lans and water is an in-kind donation? 
Any comments? 

Hi Lisa, 

    Your question exactly mirrors mine. We have no site yet, but is it an 
issue if some CG harvested produce would be sold? As we enter into 
negotiations with our Parks & Rec Dept, it may be. 
    Personally, one of the reasons I want a CG in our community is to 
support families in becoming self sufficient and self reliant. Growing one's 
own food and selling the rest is an excellent way to supplement incomes. A 
great teaching tool for children as well, if this were to be a school 
project. Also, I feel it important to support small farmers, the farmer's 
markets, and sustainable living in general. Community Gardening can do all 
this, and more. In fact, I think of CGing as a possible springboard for 
anyone who eventually wants to market garden, just to try it out. 
    I'm wondering if there needs to be more stringent rules/controls on 
participants if there is gardening for profit going on in a CG. For example, 
are there problems with theft? 
    Also, what are the specifics? If, say I grew straw flowers in my plot, 
then used them for crafts which I then sold at a Christmas Bazaar for my own 
profit, would that count? 
    I know I've oversimplified this issue. But ya gotta start somewhere....   

Soleil Paz Tranquilli 
Elk Grove, CA 95624 

"The cure for anything is saltwater: Sweat, tears or the sea."   Isak Dinesen 

Click here: The Elk Grove  <http://www.geocities.com/egcgonline/> Community Garden   

Click here:  <http://soleilsgarden.homestead.com/index.html> Soleilsgarden 

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