Good food has always been a family endeavor for the Leeks. When Jim’s twenty-year-old daughter Rachel was tragically killed in 2009 while riding her bicycle, Jim and his son Tom started farming in her honor. After Jim retired from teaching, he expanded the business to include his son Pat. In 2013, Pat died unexpectedly and the business continued in his honor as well. That same year they earned their USDA Organic Certification. The following year Pat and Rachel’s Gardens expanded to a ten-acre farm outside of Olathe.
Pat and Rachel’s garden completed a Sustainable Research and Education Grant in 2019 titled “Adding Value to Small-farm Produce by Processing and Freezing Vegetables and Fruit.” They learned a lot about value-adding fresh produce. You can read their report here: Learning Outcomes SARE GRANT.