First, a disclosure, my wife and I are one of the four community supported agriculture (CSA) members at Bad Seed Farm. As such, we have a vested interest in seeing Bad Seed succeed.
Urban farmers, community leaders and city officials gathered before a crowd of close to 100 people at Bad Seed Farm's downtown market space on Tuesday night to discuss the process for potentially changing the development code in Kansas City.
"We need to look at urban agriculture as a potential solution to problems in the city, whether it's the use of vacant lots, the greening effort, or health issues," said Daniel Heryer, who runs Bad Seed Farm with his wife, Brooke Salvaggio.
Katherine Kelly, the director of the Kansas City Center for Urban Agriculture, acted as moderator at the community meeting, which was designed to seek input and find community advocates willing to serve on an urban agriculture steering committee tasked with drafting an amendment to the current ordinance that governs zoning and development.
"Ideally we'll come up with templates that will serve as a model for other municipalities," said Kelly of the committee, which will have a separate subcommittee on raising livestock in an urban or suburban setting.
City officials candidly discussed the reasons why Bad Seed Farm was
issued citations for violating the current development code, while also
recognizing that this issue requires the code to be updated.
irony is that you have someone living on a property and taking care of
it, where somebody right now could go into a vacant lot and start
farming and they don't have to care what the property looks like," said
Patty Noll, an urban planner in the City Planning and Development Department.
will sit on the steering committee as a representative of the city. She
was part of a large contingent of public officials who were on hand to
answer questions and address concerns, including representatives of
Animal Control and Tom Coyle, the director of City Planning and
"The timing of this could not be better. Our
agenda called for looking at the code in September and here we are
meeting in October - that's pretty quick in government terms. We're
looking at something that can happen in 90 days from getting a code
drafted to a public hearing," said Coyle.
Sharp, who referred to Bad Seed Farm as "asset to his district,"
suggested that the city might begin addressing the issue even sooner.
will be one of the recommendations from the mayor's New Tools Task
Force, that urban agriculture can help to stimulate and rejuvenate
neighborhoods," said Sharp, noting that the New Tools recommendations
could be before the City Council today.