By Leslie Montee
The Kansas Department of Commerce hosts an awards program, To the Stars: Celebrating Kansas Businesses, annually to recognize businesses across the state for their valuable contributions made to the Kansas economy and the well-being of the communities that support them. “We want to recognize the many businesses and businesspeople throughout our state that are working hard to build their companies and at the same time contributing to their community as valuable resources,” said Craig VanWey, In-State Business Development Manager. “These awards allow us to shine a light on the terrific success stories taking place in all parts of the state.”
Leafy Green Farms in Pittsburg, Kansas, was nominated in the new for 2022 Agribusiness category. This category was created for companies that stand out and excel in the agribusiness industry including agricultural production, products and services, and agri-tourism. On October 20, 2022, Brad Fourby, Founder of Leafy Green Farms, and Becky Grotheer, Corporate Director of Leafy Green Farms traveled to Topeka for the statewide awards banquet hosted by the Kansas Department of Commerce.
An all-time high of 237 businesses were nominated for awards across the 10 categories. The nominees were reviewed and scored based on criteria such as business expansion, employee recruitment, training and educational programs, and support of local communities and their events. Of the nominees, 56 regional awards were presented. Leafy Green Farms was blessed and proud to be the 2022 Southeast Regional Agribusiness winner.
Leafy Green Farms opened its first hydroponic farm last year. Since their beginning, the team at the farm has been committed to providing healthier options to small communities like the ones here in Crawford County. Their produce is harvested weekly, unaffected by the weather, and has been distributed to food banks, local consumers, and even goes into local food distribution boxes supplied by Schenker Family Farms in McCune, Kansas. “We strive to move that nutrition needle. If we can provide a little better nutrition to those who don’t normally have access to it, then we’re seeing our mission through,” explained Fourby. Pittsburg High School now has its own farm that is used for a plethora of opportunities at the school. From culinary classes, marketing, agriculture, and beyond, the school finds multiple uses for its farm, with much of the produce ending up right in their own cafeteria, on their own student’s plates.
Future expansion is on the horizon for Leafy Green Farms as they explore their options, and they are currently working with Kansas State University’s Technology Development Institute. As things progress for the team at Leafy Green Farms, the achievement of this award signifies that they are heading in the right direction. “We would like to thank the Commerce department team, Craig VanWey, and Lt. Governor Toland for their generosity,” expressed Fourby. “We also want to thank all the Veterans associations and the Kansas Department of Education who have supported our Farm to Vets and our Farm to School programs.”
To learn more about Leafy Green Farms, visit their website at www.leafygreenfarms.org or check them out on their Facebook page Leafy Green Farms to follow their journey.