Local Farm Connects Communities to the Blue River


(LEFT) HCA partnered with Blue River Watershed Association and Boys Grow to test water quality at Municipal Farm in June. (RIGHT) Volunteers planted 53 fruit-bearing trees with Giving Grove at the March Municipal Farm Community Day.

Heartland Conservation Alliance works with many partners to make the Blue River watershed healthier. One of eight Action Areas is 422 acres owned by the city of Kansas City, Missouri called Municipal Farm. Through an EPA Area-Wide Brownfields Planning Pilot grant, the city sought extensive stakeholder input and developed a community vision for the future redevelopment and use of Municipal Farm. This vision became articulated in the , adopted by City Council in 2012. The Plan was further developed in 2015 by the Sustainable Cities Design Academy.

“This area represents a unique opportunity for our city to reimagine how nature, economy and people thrive together in an urban setting,” explained Jill Erickson. “We have the learning lab for the future of healthy and resilient cities right here.”

Since 2015, Heartland Conservation Alliance has partnered with several local, state and federal agencies to implement the Sustainable Reuse Plan and has raised nearly $1 million to support the work. The farm has been at the heart of the Urban Waters Federal partnership, a national initiative of EPA that brings federal agencies like US Dept. of Agriculture, US Forest Service, US Geological Survey, and Environmental Protection Agency together to catalyze action to restore urban rivers and streams. With funding from the Missouri Dept. of Natural Resources, Heartland Conservation Alliance and the city are restoring 20 acres of wetland. The restoration is being completed by Habitat Architects. One of the most recent efforts, funded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, has engaged hundreds of people with the work taking place. Heartland Conservation Alliance has been hosting community events at the site over the past year. Last November, the partners hosted a Service Learning Masterclass to engage high school seniors and college freshmen interested in conservation careers. In April, Giving Grove and Boys Grow worked with volunteers to plant food producing trees and in September Kansas City WildLands led a Honeysuckle Academy to teach residents how to remove invasive plants from important natural areas. In June, HCA launched it's MO Stream Team, #5145 with a Rain to Tap to Table day. With leadership from Blue River Watershed Association, volunteers tested water at different locations around the farm and learned about protecting our rivers. There will be one more community event this year on Saturday, Oct. 19 from 1-4 p.m. Led by The Nature Conservancy, Nature’s Bounty will celebrate all the ways nature supports our quality of living – even in a city. There will be free family activities and a bonfire for all to enjoy. To volunteer or sign up to attend, visit our Facebook event here or contact us at info@heartlandconservaitonalliance.org.

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