Join us for the sixth installment of UniverCities Exchange, an ongoing collaborative project between UMKC and UMSL, that brings community leaders together with academic expertise to discuss challenges and potential solutions to issues affecting the Kansas City and St. Louis Metro Areas.
In this session, panelists will explore ways that various forms of urban agriculture can increase food production and distribution to reduce food insecurity and shrink cities’ food deserts. We'll discuss initiatives in Kansas City and St. Louis that are underway and opportunities to get involved.
James Forbes is the co-founder and CEo of Goodlife Growing, a social enterprise with mission rooted in promoting grass-roots community change in order to aid local communities combating food insecurity, large scale land vacancies, and poor food access. They are committed to creating opportunities for residents to develop the skills necessary to enter the growing urban agriculture industry.
Brien Darby has been with Cultivate KC since January of 2021. Cultivate KC is a Kansas City-based non-profit whose mission is to grow food, farms and community in support of an equitable, sustainable and healthy food system for all. Previously, Ms. Darby was at the Denver Botanic Gardens, where she worked as a farmer, teacher and food systems advocate. In her career in Colorado, she planned and built urban farms for new American populations, worked in the intersection of public housing and food access, developed a farmer in training program with Colorado State University, and served as vice president of the American Community Gardening Association. She holds a Master’s degree in Public Health from the Colorado School of Public Health and was selected as a Rocky Mountain Farmers Union 2020 Fellow. Currently, Brien serves on the board of the KC Food Hub and on the Mid-America Regional Council’s Climate and Environment Council.
Assistant Research Professor, State Extension Specialist, University of Missouri
Juan Cabrera-Garcia’s research focuses on improving resource use efficiency and understanding the role of microbial communities in hydroponic cropping systems. He received his bachelor's degree in Agricultural Science and Production from Zamorano University, Honduras, followed by his doctoral degree in Plant Science from the University of Connecticut. Cabrera-Garcia has a 50:50 appointment with University of Missouri-Kansas City and the University of Missouri–Columbia. At UMKC, he is an assistant research professor in Controlled Environment Agriculture. At MU, he is the extension state specialist in Vegetable Production.
Moderator: Steve Kraske
Steve Kraske is an associate teaching professor of journalism at UMKC, a political columnist for The Kansas City Star and has hosted "Up to Date" since 2002. He worked as the full-time political correspondent for The Star from 1994-2013 covering national, state and local campaigns. He also has covered the statehouses in Topeka and Jefferson City.
Before arriving in Kansas City, he worked at daily newspapers in Iowa and Illinois and at United Press International in Madison, Wis. Kraske is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he received a bachelor's degree in journalism. He was a 1992 John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University.
Kraske has won awards for both his print and radio work and has appeared on NPR, CNN and Fox.
Nate Addington, Director of Community Engagement and Outreach, UMKC; Patricia Zahn, Director of Community Engagement and Outreach, UMSL