What is Common Ground Producers and Growers Mobile Market?
Common Ground is a mobile market that has one mission which is to serve the community. In the city of Wichita Kansas we serve in food deserts areas, low income residents and in the communities where there is food insecurity.
Our mission statement simply says… “All Are Fed and No One is Hungry” we are committed to serving the community. Ground Producers and Growers Mobile Market serves three counties Sedgwick County, Harvey County and Butler County. Someone may ask why do you do it? The answer is simple for Ground Producers and Growers Mobile Market. We have a heart to see people have access to healthy foods. In the 21st-century everything about our life has changed.
From the way we eat, to the way we receive our news and to the way we work everything has changed. Farming in America has also changed. For decades and generations people have viewed farming as hundreds of acres, combines and tractors. Now there is a new form of farming called Urban Agriculture. Urban Agriculture like everything else about the 21st-century it just looks different. Urban Agriculture is now being done on rooftops and in backyards and abandoned lots right in the heart of the concrete jungle. Urban Agriculture farmers look like the man or the woman next door to you, the person checking you out at the supermarket or the guy who is selling you your car! Urban Agriculture looks different and it is different but the heart of farming is still the same.
No matter if you’re in the heart of the country or in the heart of the city the goal for both urban and rural farmers is the same –to feed their families and feed their community. We need community partnerships and resources to build a better tomorrow where food is a policy issue and not a profit issue.
Now we have a world that consists of both urban and rural agriculture where the two worlds are now colliding to impact our communities and our nation for the better. Ground Producers and Growers Mobile Market is a product of Urban Agriculture. The Pearson Family farm in the city of Wichita Kansas has been feeding the Sedgwick County community for more than 50 years. Donna Pearson McClish CEO for Common Ground Producers and Growers Mobile Market was raised to think on one simple question…”what if the supermarket closed how would you eat?” In 2014 Common Ground Producers and Growers Mobile Market was born out of that childhood question asked by her mother. Today Common Ground Producers and Growers Mobile Market buys local produce from the farmers in the area so they can do what they love to do! Grow food and feed people it’s just that simple. We take that fresh food and load it onto our vans and we take it to the people who need it the most. Ground Producers and Growers Mobile Market gives those in need options for a healthier life. We bring the best quality of fresh produce to them. Our produce has no herbicide or pesticides added to them which means the community is getting the best quality of nutrition they can for their bodies.
Seniors First! Program
In March 2020 the world as we knew it would forever be changed. For the first time we as a nation saw first hand what it was like to go to the store and see there was no meat, no beans or no bread. The American Food System as we knew it snapped! Ground Producers and Growers Mobile Market for the first time in its creation since 2014 would now shift to providing food year-round for the community in 2020. As the nation and our community pushed through uncertainty and a pandemic we discovered that we are stronger than we thought and we can do more than we thought.
Common Ground Producers and Growers Mobile Market implemented a mental health mission along with our food mission. Keisha McClish Couts, after receiving her Master’s Degree from Friends University, began to partner with CEO Donna Pearson McClish to do a weekly wellness phone call and check on our community of senior citizens. We understood not only was there a need for food but also a need for connection and communication. The phone calls allowed for those who were the most vulnerable to stay connected to people, share their thoughts, feelings and concerns. Sometimes hope shows up not only as food but also as a simple phone call to let someone know “I’m here if you need me and it’s okay we are going to make it together.”
Common Ground Producers and Growers Mobile Market is committed to the next Generation of urban and rural farmers. We have partnered with Kansas State Research and Extension Office for education and training. This has allowed Common Ground Producers and Growers Mobile Market to hire city youth workers through the City of Wichita The Way to Work employment program. This program allows youths to be exposed to careers and opportunities they may never have been able to experience otherwise. Through these partnerships, we are able to expose young people to farming and community. Our youth are the next generation of farmers. The young men were able to experience for themselves what role they play in the food chain system. For the first time they were able to see carrots and potatoes coming straight out of the ground compared to how they normally would see them in the store. They experienced the power of production of your own food and the gift to be able to feed someone else. This allowed the to see the importance of leadership and the need to serve others. The next generation has a bright future and some tough work to do but if we continue to show them that there is power in knowing where your food comes from and there is power in serving your community. By educating, empowering and demonstrating servant leadership there will be no problems the next generation of rural and urban farmers won’t be able to solve.
Food access has to become as important to our community’s as safe streets, good education and housing. No one president, no one political party, and no one government project can solve the food issue. It will take all of us both young and old rural and urban working to meet the needs of our community. We can change the system and make it more equitable and inclusive. The change is here, the real question becomes what is my role and what can I do to promote change?