Sunday, October 2, 2011

Activity: Kansas City Community Gardens

Location: 6917 Kensington, KC MO
Phone: 816-931-3877

Hours: Monday Through Friday: 9am to 5 pm

Cost: Free

Age appropriate: All

From their website: a not-for-profit organization that provides self-help and educational assistance to low-income people, children and community groups in the metropolitan area to grow their own food from garden plots located in backyards, vacant lots, schoolyards and at community sites.

This description just doesn't do this place justice. Yet another KC gem hidden in the rough. For starters, this place is what it sounds like, a community garden. But it is much more than that. It's a place where we can all learn about sustainable growing and have a good time doing. And as usual with most of the places we visit, this place is made even better by the attentive staff that gave us our tour. Our tour guide was patient and worked extremely well with the kids.

The garden is a couple acres big and does have many native MO and Kansas plants growing there but they also have many wonderful fruit and vegetables. In fact, the tour is not just a mindless information only kind of thing. It's highlighted by picking your own peppers, figs, Asian pears and other interesting oddities right off the tree and eating them right there. Our tour guide brought along a small knife and would cut up each sample for us right after it was picked. For the record, fresh cantaloupe that you pick your self tastes very, very good.

The tour did include seeing some of the native plants and our tour guide was great at answering any growing questions that we had. As one of our local farmer boys was with us, this was a great thing to have as we had a lot of questions.

We also got to try some things that we never would have tried before such as French Sorrel (leaves taste like a sour patch), a Mouse Melon (looks like a baby watermelon, tastes like a cucumber) and fresh peanuts that we dug out ourselves. Interesting note about peanuts, they are dry roasted for a reason. Eating one straight out of the ground was not so good. Kind of mushy.

The kids enjoyed all of it though and were very game to try everything from the candy peppers to the purple beans. So with that said, it turns out we were actually healthier just for going.

The tour didn't end there either. Once completed with the outside, we went inside where we planted our own Sweet Basil that we got to take home. For Free. We love free stuff. The kids also got a chance to look at a very big spider that I wanted to smush and to play with a very large Praying Mantis that I wanted to run away from.

In the spring or late summer, make this one of your destinations, you won't regret it.

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