Johnson County Community College

JCCC Open Petal FarmCampus farm.

JCCC’s Campus Farm is located on roughly 3 acres in the northwest corner of the main campus.

The purpose of the farm is twofold: to provide a hands-on educational experience for the Sustainable Agriculture program and to provide locally grown, chemical-free produce to the specifications of JCCC’s Dining Services and Culinary programs.

During its development, the farm has provided educational opportunities for Sustainable Agriculture and Culinary students. Faculty from a wide range of disciplines have integrated some of the farm’s practices into their own curricula. The Native American Studies program has a dedicated plot on the farm grounds.

Currently, we have a variety of seasonally appropriate plantings in place. Throughout the growing season, we will plant over 80 separate varieties of more than 30 different crops.

Agricultural Programs - If you are interested in studying more about agriculture and plant science, contact a JCCC academic counselor to discuss the Sustainable Agricultural certificate. Refer to our agricultural programs

Seasonal Updates

Open Petal Farm is the practical lab space for students in JCCC’s Sustainable Agriculture program. The 3-acre farm is on the northwest side of campus. We will share seasonal updates about Open Petal Farm here and in our campus newsletter. If you don't want to miss an update, sign up for the newsletter.

Open Petal Farm Updates November 2019

Staffing: 

  • Intern Megan McManus was replaced by Abby Hall. Megan elevated the farm-to-table position by increasing communication to the various food services around campus and by systematizing and figuring out the aquaponic system while including the rest of our team in the process. She has moved on to study at K-State in the Urban Food Systems graduate program. Abby has already used her contacts in the culinary world to increase sales to local restaurants; she also organized the first alumni farm dinner, which was a great success and lots of fun. We had representatives from each “generation” of graduates.
  • Intern Chris Hall assisted in all aspects of the farm but also participated in most of the market sales at Overland Park Farmers Market. He intends to farm three acres with his family in New Mexico. His replacement, Luke Sprowls, has already used his organizational skills to make sense of the tool shed.

Sales: Our sales so far for this year have increased from the previous year, despite rain wiping out our tomatoes almost entirely and hampering peppers and eggplant. Presently, we have sold $9,500 through markets, on campus and through the Rolling Prairie CSA, with more to come. Because of all the rain, we had great success growing sweet potatoes, potatoes, blackberries, greens, garlic and peaches. A few specialty crops like jujubes, roselle and aronia berries were nice additions to our market table. Diversity works. 

Repairs: The Student Sustainability Committee came through again with some much needed repairs on our tractor and a compost spreader, which will help spread compost evenly throughout the farm. We’ve already used it on one field. Four tractor scoops will spread compost over approximately 800 square feet in a few hours from hook-up to clean-up.

Changes: Soon we’ll be changing out the plastic on the high tunnel and using a piece of it to cover the batting cage, where we will be storing some of our large equipment.

Open Petal Farm Updates July 2019

Congresswoman Sharice Davids visited the farm in early July and heard concerns from students about the cost of entry into farming at a variety of scales.

Production: Many farms are reporting a horrible production year. As usual, what’s bad for one crop or one field might be good for another. This spring was excellent for rotting roots, dwarfing tomato plants and producing a record amount of weeds, but it was also good for our strawberries. We’ve already sold 60 pounds of peaches (first year for peaches) and 120 pounds of potatoes (purple Vikings are everyone’s favorite) and have only harvested half of them. Raspberries are doing well, but blackberries are producing 12 pints a day right now. Our asparagus harvest was pretty good on one end of the field but the other end sat in water for weeks.

Sales: We’ve sold over $600 worth of produce at the Overland Park Farmers Market twice this season already, with a lot of diversity of product. We had peaches, raspberries, blackberries, potatoes, basil (basil doesn’t sell until tomatoes show up), greens, tomatoes, peppers, squash, okra and green beans. Our students learn important consumer interaction skills when they sell at the market.

Summer Class Involvement: We are a major contributor to Rolling Prairie CSA every week. Dining services has continued to purchase a small amount of produce weekly. The most important thing is that, unlike the winter class, the summer class is actively participating on the farm. Students are weeding, learning to use the equipment, broadcast seeding, harvesting and post-harvesting, and participating at the market and at the CSA. This is one of the best groups of students we’ve had.

Wash Shed: A new wash shed has improved life on the farm. We’ve also had four international students volunteer for 5 to 12 hours so far, beyond the work done by students in the program itself.

Market Crop to Cover Transition: The tiller for the tractor has helped in transitioning from market crops to cover crops. We currently have terminated the rye in Field 2, tilled and planted sorghum sudan grass. We’ve tilled in the clover and relentless grass in Field 1 and will broadcast seed buckwheat just before our next rain.

Fall Garden: Soon, the fall garden in Field 1 will be planted in paper pots. This fall, we will need to change out the plastic on the high tunnel. We may try growing high tunnel strawberries again.