Experience farm to table in Kansas City style when you join KC Healthy Kids for our first ever progressive dinner on Tuesday, October 17. The adventure features three separate routes for course tastings with our Carrot Gold partners. Then, everyone meets up on the rooftop of The Fontaine for drinks and dessert. Come hang out with fellow farm to table foodies and get to know Carrot Gold and the power of a robust farm to table network.
Renee Kelly’s Harvest >> Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar >> The Fontaine
6:00 – 8:00 pm First & Second Stops
7:00 – 10:00 pm Rooftop of The Fontaine on the Country Club Plaza
If we draw your name for the progressive dinner route that begins in Johnson County, you will be one of the lucky last few to dine at Renee Kelly’s Harvest at Caenen Castle before it closes to the public.
When the castle was built in 1907, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a horse and buggy on what is now Johnson Drive. The area grew slowly until World War II, and by 1960 more than 140,000 people lived there. Even though Johnson County is said to be one of the most affluent in the country, it’s also home to many families who face food insecurity.
Harvest is a true destination for farm to table and has been a 24 Carrot Gold partner since 2016. If you look around the grounds at Harvest, you will see a composting site tucked away, recycling bins, Renee’s bicycle, well-cared for and harvested-from gardens all demonstrating her commitment to sustainability.
Your host at Harvest is Charlie Hopper. Charlie knows that locally sourced food can make a difference when it comes revitalizing a neighborhood and community. He’s the director of Hardesty Renaissance Economic Development Corporation where he’s working with the Hardesty neighborhood to bring back economic growth by connecting small-scale farmers and related industries, including food service and education, to fuel the neighborhood’s renaissance.
Ready to head to Jax Fish House and Oyster Bar? The first chain restaurant to be a Carrot Gold partner, Jax is a seafood company that values sustainable harvesting and local sourcing. Jax uses seafood only from the “green list,” considered the program’s best choices, which means the seafood is “caught or farmed in ways that cause little harm to habitats or other wildlife.” They make sure they are buying from people using fishing methods consistent with their principles.
Look for your host Mike B. Rollen at Jax. Mike grows on several vacant lots in Ivanhoe and on his farm Ophelia’s Blue Vine Farm near 18th and Vine. He also mentors young growers on KCMO’s east side. You can find Mike along with his son and trusted market assistant, Elija, at the Ivanhoe Farmers Market on Friday evenings throughout the summer. Mike is also a DJ on Magic 107.3 and has various cinematography projects going as well.
Chef Scott Blackerby of The Fontaine is new to town, but a connection he made early on, with Alicia Ellingsworth and our Carrot Gold program, will make it easier to reach local farmers and continue the farm to table tradition he values. As a Carrot Gold partner, The Fontaine’s 901 West dining room and Solarium Lounge are recognized for excellence in local sourcing, sustainable kitchen operations and healthy menu items. His sourcing local, seasonal produce and meat goes back to his time at restaurants from places including Los Angeles to Dubai to Mackinac Island. And he’s committed to the same policies around sustainability, including 100 percent composting and 100 percent recycling.
Here are some of the ways we work with communities in Johnson County.
Several schools and districts in Johnson County work with our Farm to School Academy to offer training for cafeteria staff, peer support for stakeholders and district directors, resources for teachers, tastings for students and recipes for parents. If you have kids in these schools, ask someone about farm to school activities!
- Shawnee Mission School District
- Christots Montessori School
- Parkwood Day School
- Olathe School District Food Service
- Roesland Elementary School
Prairie Elementary in the Shawnee Mission district and several Girl Scout Troops in Johnson County have participated in our I Am Here youth leadership program and photo contest, which encourages them to take a critical look at their surroundings. Kids in the program consistently ask for safer streets and farmers markets. In our contest, winners can win up to $2500 to make their schools healthier.
Double Up Food Bucks is a program that KC Healthy Kids helped bring to Kansas City. For every dollar SNAP users spend on any produce, they get a dollar to spend on locally grown produce during that trip or later on. Double Up can be found at grocery stores and farmers markets in Kansas and Missouri. Here are a few in the neighborhoods you’ll be near on the night of the progressive dinner.
- Mission Farm and Flower Market, 5613 Johnson Drive, Mission, KS
- Price Chopper, 4950 Roe Boulevard. Roeland Park, KS
If you buy groceries in Kansas, you’ll be glad to know KC Healthy Kids is leading the charge to reduce the burden of food sales taxes in Kansas. At 6.5%, the tax is second highest in the nation. Plus, county and city governments can levy additional taxes, bringing the total as high as 11% in some areas.
You can dine with our Carrot Gold partners any day of the week. In Johnson County, check out these great places to eat:
- Simple Science Juices
- Shawnee Mission Medical Center
- Johnson County Community College
- Room 39 at Mission Farms
- Whole Foods
- Woodside Health Club
Eden Alley Café on the Country Club Plaza, and Kauffman Foundation Conference Center and Stowers Institute further east are also Carrot Gold Partners.
KC Healthy Kids regularly works in a six county area that includes about 125 municipalities. Our policy team has influence in the Kansas and Missouri state legislatures and often calls on advocates to speak out about federal policies like the Farm Bill, which addresses important needs like food assistance, school nutrition and more.
This is just a quick snapshot of some of the ways we work with Johnson County. Learn more about how KC Healthy Kids is reshaping our region for a brighter future.
However you get there, we’ll see you on the rooftop of The Fontaine for dessert and drinks!
Photos: Renee Kelly’s Harvest, Jax