Food & Agriculture

About Food and Agriculture

At the core of New Growth's Food Systems Unit lies a profound commitment to farmers and farm land, the lifelines of our rural communities and central to a new era of health and wealth. Getting locally produced food on our menus, in our schools, in our local and larger markets nearby can help us build economic growth and strengthen community bonds. It’s part of making sure everyone in our rural communities eats and lives well.

A woman sitting with watermelons she has grown.

Beginning Farmers & Ranchers

The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Support Program assists farm entrepreneurs with less than 10 years of experience who want to know more about how to succeed quickly.

This program connects them to mentorships, business guidance, and access to vital resources, benefiting both individual farmers and rural economies.

Heartland Food Businesses

Heartland Regional Food Business Center, funded by the USDA, is a pivotal resource for food and agricultural businesses across Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Oklahoma, and Northwest Arkansas.

Catering to a broad spectrum of the food supply chain, including growers, producers, packagers, and distributors, Heartland is committed to empowering small, midsize, and particularly diverse and historically underserved entrepreneurs in the food and farm industry. By offering comprehensive business assistance and fostering connections within a supportive network, Heartland aims to facilitate the scaling of these businesses, promoting the integration of locally produced food into a robust and resilient local food supply chain. This initiative not only supports economic growth but also champions the sustainability of local food ecosystems.

New Growth MO is a co-director of the Heartland Regional Food Business Center.

Farm to Fork

The New Growth Food Systems champions local and regional initiatives that support farm-to-fork practices.

Our annual event, the Missouri Farm to Fork Summit and Expo, typically occurring in February, offers a dynamic platform for those working for food and farm businesses, along with various supporting entities, to gain insights and forge connections across the region. This gathering is designed to spark collaborative ventures, paving the way for fresh business prospects that contribute to a thriving community where access to quality food ensures a healthy lifestyle for all. Details about upcoming speakers, educational sessions, exhibitors, and how to become a sponsor are available on the Farm to Fork Summit & Expo page.

Local Food Promotion

We work to increase local and regional food purchasing, supply, and infrastructure in the greater Kansas City market region. This involves helping farmers, food businesses, and community organizations connect and build the working relationships needed to make farm-to-table work.

Contact Food Value Chain Coordinator Cristina Jopling at cjopling@wcmcaa.org.

Conservation Agriculture

We work with farmers across the greater Kansas City region to implement conservation and climate smart agriculture practices. The program includes a mentorship opportunity with experienced farmers offering a broad range of technical support to farmers interested in learning and implementing conservation practices.

Contact Food Value Chain Coordinator Cristina Jopling at cjopling@wcmcaa.org.

Regional Food Systems Partnership

The Food Systems Program at New Growth is working with partners across the greater Kansas City region to produce a regional food system assessment. Out of this assessment we will develop a regional food system plan to increase regional food resilience.

Contact Food Systems Director Katie Nixon at knixon@wcmcaa.org.

Farms to Schools

We help rural west central Missouri schools source from local farms. The project builds on the agricultural strengths of the region and its growing network of food system partners and projects.

Contact Farm to School Specialist Jaclyn Carroll at jcarroll@wcmcaa.org.

Farm SHARE

This program works through partners, such as affordable housing providers, to connect local agriculture producers with community residents. Regular seasonal food boxes feature fresh, high-quality eggs and produce.

Contact Food Systems Director Katie Nixon at knixon@wcmcaa.org.

Double Up Food Bucks

Double Up Food Bucks matches every $1 that EBT food assistance card users spend on local food products at participating farmers’ markets, farm stands, and grocery stores in Kansas and Missouri; up to $25 more each visit. Our Food Systems program coordinates Double Up Food Bucks in west central Missouri.

Contact Food Systems Director Katie Nixon at knixon@wcmcaa.org.

How Salmon Enterprises, a Local Farm, is Growing their Food Business

How Salmon Enterprises, a Local Farm, is Growing their Food Business

They knew selling beef directly to neighbors and other people was possible, but the connections made through New Growth connected them with buyers they might not have thought of on their own.
Tending the Business of Local Food: Connecting Local Farms to Local Plates

Tending the Business of Local Food: Connecting Local Farms to Local Plates

New Growth works with entrepreneurs to pursue growing demand for food that does not travel thousands of miles from farm to plate. Though our partnership with the new five-state Heartland Food Business Center, we can provide industry specific support to food and farm entrepreneurs.
Video series helps produce farmers go wholesale

Video series helps produce farmers go wholesale

The new Demystifying Wholesale video series features farmer-to-farmer advice on producing, packing, and marketing vegetables for local wholesale markets. It is produced by the Food Systems Program at West Central Missouri Community Action Agency as part of its Beginning Farmer Wholesale Project in association with the Growing Growers KC program.

Contact Us for Business Assistance

The New Growth Food Systems unit serves food and agriculture businesses through various programs by providing aspiring and established agricultural entrepreneurs with the necessary resources and assistance to embark on new business or expand successful ventures. We offer a comprehensive suite of services aimed at fostering growth and sustainability within the agricultural sector.

7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Evenings and weekends by appointment.
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