Eastwood Hills looking for new use on historic Municipal Farm

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — More than half of the people who live in the Kansas City metro struggle to find healthy food, according to U.S. Census data.

The Eastwood Hills Community Association is hoping that a Kansas City request for proposals regarding the old Municipal Farm can help address that need for healthy food while reviving a part of KC that has been used to grow food dating back more than a century.

“For us, it may be transformational for our community and I’m looking forward to that,” Eastwood Hills Community Association President Gale Burrus said.

She lives near the 146 acres of what’s now mostly greenspace and trees that could eventually be developed into more urban agriculture and mixed use developments.

“With the urban agriculture, they’re trying to think of different things in terms of having it as a destination maybe for people to have jobs there to be working from our community,” Burrus said.

The land dates back to the early 1900’s, when it was a city prison with a garden tended by inmates growing food for the prison and a nearby hospital. Those buildings are long gone, leaving space for residents like Debbie Crownowner to tend to the community garden on more than an acre now.

“Once upon a time, the prisoners grew their own food on the same hillside where we’re growing our own food so I love the history behind that,” said Crownover.

Burrus says her association has already been working with one group submitting a proposal and she and her neighbors will eventually see what could be planned out for the space. The goal is to be an oasis in the food desert while bringing jobs walking distance to her community.

“How can we use this land helping the community, helping the environment and moving forward so it’s sustainable so it doesn’t go by the wayside again and nobody knows what to do with it,” Burrus said.

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