EllieAna Hale
Community Engagement
Intern & Reporter

Jerusalem Farm is once again taking the lead in fostering community engagement through its biennial community research project. Following the success of the research project in 2020 and 2022, the organization is setting ambitious goals for 2024, aiming to surpass the remarkable 500 responses received in the previous cycle.

Located in Historic Northeast’s Pendleton Heights neighborhood, the organization is a non-profit Catholic Intentional community that spearheads a variety of community improvement projects.

This extensive community research initiative spans almost six months, beginning with listening sessions at the beginning of this month. At this stage of the research project, residents are invited to actively participate in shaping the future of their community by advocating for their opinions and identifying the most pressing needs within the Northeast neighborhood.

The listening sessions go beyond a simple census report; they serve as a platform for residents to voice their thoughts on various areas of the community, including public safety, transportation, environment, recreation, housing, jobs, health and education. Jerusalem Farm seeks to create a comprehensive and accessible understanding of the challenges and aspirations of the community.

Two distinct approaches are being employed for the listening sessions. In February, public sessions will be held at the Kansas City Public Library, providing an opportunity for residents to collectively contribute to the conversation. Covering a spectrum of topics, these sessions will allow attendees to express their concerns and hopes for the future.

Simultaneously, a different approach allows individuals and organizations to host private listening sessions. For those eager to bring the discussion directly to their community or organization, Jerusalem Farm welcomes the opportunity to facilitate these sessions and extends the opportunity to be invited into those spaces of the community. 

Hosted listening sessions can additionally be conducted in various languages as Jerusalem Farm intends to provide interpreters. 

Listening sessions are about empowering the community to contribute to conversations about the betterment of the community that shape their lives. The goal is to hear from as many voices as possible, ensuring the findings reflect the diverse and vibrant nature of the Northeast neighborhood.

“There are a lot of surveys that take place in the Northeast, “ Jordan Schiele, Founder and Project Director at Jerusalem Farm said. “With this community research project, we want the survey to essentially come directly from the community, not from us. 

Once the listening sessions conclude, the insights will be compiled and transformed into a comprehensive community-wide survey. This survey, enriched by the authentic voices of Northeast residents, will be distributed throughout the community, amplifying the reach and impact of the research project.

By August, a final report will emerge from the collective voices of the Northeast community. This report will be distributed to stakeholders and community members. It will also serve as a vital resource for new developers entering the area, providing a roadmap that aligns with the unique needs and priorities of the Northeast neighborhood.

The overarching goal of the community research project is to create a symbiotic relationship between the community and a new future of what the Northeast could be. Jerusalem Farm aims to foster a deep connection that ensures positive and sustainable development. 

“It’s important that we as a community engage in activities like this because without data, without coming together, without meeting our neighbors and brainstorming, and working on these things, we’re kind of at a whim with people outside the community,” Schiele said. “The more we organize, the more we share our voices, the more we can come together to advocate for the community we want to create.”

To coordinate a hosted session, individuals or organizations can contact Phyllis Hernandez at phyllis@jerusalemfarm.org.