J500 Media and the Environment


KCCUA: Nourishing the American Body and Soul by brennad87

There is an entire series of books entitled Chicken Soup for the Soul and it is true that food has the power to nourish more than just our bodies. Food often brings a community together—over PTA suppers or ice cream socials, in the making of a regional dish or in the celebration of a local harvest. But these days, Americans

Evangeline, daughter of KCCUA's farm manager Alicia, watches over her stomping ground from the top of the hay bales.

Evangeline, daughter of KCCUA's farm manager Alicia, watches over her stomping ground from the top of the hay bales.

often miss out on that type of nourishment. It was food writer Michael Pollan who alerted me to the lack of a food culture in America—an epidemic so severe he called it our national eating disorder. Harassed and harried, Americans are more likely than ever to rush through a drive-thru or pick up a frozen entrée. There is no nourishment in this act- it causes a hunger not just for the body, but too for the soul.

But at Kansas City Center for Urban Agriculture, both the body and soul are nourished: the production of food and the fostering of community are at the core of business. I visited the farm three times throughout the semester and saw this flowering of community each time. This business takes pride in what they produce. They involve people at every level of production. I saw interactions between people of all ages and backgrounds. In the greenhouse, a Hmong

The greenhouses at KCCUA are full of interesting people and budding, green plants.

The greenhouses at KCCUA are full of interesting people and budding, green plants.

refugee watered her emerald-green buds next to two inner city teenagers. The day before market day, an elderly African-American man who looked as old and as wise as time washed red radishes in icy cold water while 6-year-old Evangeline Ellingsworth, the daughter of the farm manager, played at his feet. Everyone was sharing stories and smiles… and working together in the production of food. In these interactions, I saw hope for a food culture of America. That hope danced in my heart and on my tongue as I tasted the spicy watercress that was given to me on my first visit. I took a bite and realized it was just too good not to share.

-Brenna Daldorph

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3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I really love how you describe the people you met at KCCUA and the story you wove, it makes me feel as though I was there right along side you. Food is such an integral part of life, it’s amazing how we’ve become so disconnected from it.

Comment by meganr21

In a world that is simultaneously being isolated and brought together by technology. We still interact personally, but ever increasingly through mediums like the internet. It is great to see that urban farming is bringing us all together, while harnessing the true potential of technology to spread the word.

Comment by matthewtb

In response to both of your comments, I think that the most important thing in the world is talking to people… in communicating with people and in seeing them in their element. I think that it is easy for well-off Americans to isolate themselves from reality– from death, birth, pain, food, and love. My aim as a journalist is to give middle class Americans reality checks and show them that there are parts of life that make you feel something.

Comment by brennad87




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