10,000 MO Gardens

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COLUMBIA - Across the state, Missourians have planted 10,000 new gardens this year.

Missouri Ag Director John Hagler recognized the milestone of 10,000 gardens at a ceremony Tuesday morning.

The 10,000th garden was recorded this fall, completing the department's goal. More than 3.6 million square feet has been built over 85 acres around the state. 

"We were able to touch people's lives and bring communities together and get them out of their houses and start interacting with one another...and giving back, so many of the people who register their gardens actually give their produce to others," Dr. Hagler said.

The department randomly granted a gift card for every 1,000th garden registered. The final group that was awarded, marking the 10,000th garden, was the Heart of Missouri Master Gardeners of Columbia.

The "Master Gardeners" donate all of their grown produce to local food banks. From this, the department was inspired to create the Harvest for Hunger food drive campaign which kicks off Tuesday. It asking people to spread awareness of the importance of helping out fellow Missourians. 

Executive Director for the Central Missouri Food Bank, Peggy Kirkpatrick says this campaign shines a spotlight on the fact that everyone can help."The highest demand for food assistance continues on not just through the holidays but through the winter months so this is a great way of reminding everybody, lets not quit, lets help," Kirkpatrick said. 

The department is asking for money donations, non-perishable items, and fresh foods for the drive. It will continue through the winter months until March at the Central Missouri Food Bank. To reach the food bank by phone, call (573) 474-1020.