Alicia believes bringing food into the city and connecting it to hungry eaters is easy; that it’s about finding common ground and asking the right questions. Growing food is the hard part. She should know. She’s been a vegetable grower for nearly fifteen years. Coming from west central Indiana, Alicia has worked in Kansas City for a decade. As farm manager of Cultivate Kansas City’s Gibbs Road Farm, she worked to prove a lot of food can be grown on an acre or two of land. In this role, she lit the path from farm to wholesale for the Gibbs Road Farm, the New Roots for Refugees farmers, and many others. Alicia is skilled at year-round production planning, CSA management, infrastructure development, volunteer and crew activation, and holding space for conversations that bring people together to find solution. She’s developing sales for us this summer; her work is supported by grant funds.
Katie and her husband, Ken Barber, co-operate Green Gate Family Farm in Wheatland, Missouri. It is a 67 acre certified organic farm, with diversified production of annual and perennial produce, cut flowers, nursery plants, and a variety of eggs. Katie has been involved with the food hub before it was a food hub back in 2011. She is a founding member of Fresh Farm HQ Cooperative Association, now known as the Kansas City Food Hub, and is 100% committed to making the wholesale market a place small to medium size farmers can viably sell too. Katie was elected president in November 2017.
Ami grew up on a hobby farm- in charge of the farm floral gardens, and expert green bean snapper. She has been tinkering with plants ever since. In 2009, she started commercial farming, and now operates Red Ridge Farms with her husband, Jim. She has a Masters in Mathematics and a degree in Horticulture and taught in the Missouri Public School system, was a Horticulturist at Powell Gardens, and personnel and customer relations manager of Greenbrier Nurseries in Virginia. Even in high school, Ami was driven to own her own business, and funded much of her college education this way. Ami and her husband currently sell produce at three farmers markets, maintain a 60 member CSA program, and have begun a small foods market with a commercial kitchen that uses farm produce seconds and harvested ‘over-abundance’. Ami has been a member of the board of directors for the KC Food Hub since 2014, and is currently the Vice President.
Tom Buller is an extension agent for K-State Research and Extension-Douglas County, where he works to build local fruit and vegetable production. He is also owner of Buller Family Farm, a certified organic vegetable farm just east of Lawrence, KS. As you can see in the picture, he is out standing in his field.
Jacob grew up on a diversified livestock farm, but always wanted to have a more direct connection to the food chain. He graduated from Iowa State University with degrees in Horticulture and Animal Science in order to pursue that goal and take the family farm in a new direction. Together with help from his wife and family, Jacob’s farm, JET Produce and Meats, quickly expanded to grow over 10 acres of vegetables and raise a wide variety of livestock. JET Produce and Meats joined the Kansas City Food Hub shortly after its founding and has been excited to be a part of its continued growth.
James Leek, manager of the Certified Organic “Pat & Rachel’s Gardens, LLC” of Olathe, KS, is a retired school teacher and administrator. He earned his degrees at the University of Kansas, taught for 39 years in elementary, middle school, high school and college, and administered parochial, private and public schools in rural, inner city and suburban districts. He retired from Shawnee Mission South High School where he taught Latin and World Literature and led five groups of students to Italy, Greece, and England. Gardening has been a life-long hobby. Now it keeps him off the streets. He and his wife, Sandra, live in Olathe, KS. He is author of three textbooks used widely by homeschoolers.