July 15, 2011

Department of Agriculture Names Farmers' Market Champion for 2011

Tim Green of Webb City Farmers' Market recognized for volunteering, teaching, leadership.

Today, the Missouri Department of Agriculture announced Tim Green as 2011 Champion of the Year for his work to promote gardening, locally-grown foods and farmers' markets. Green was recognized at the Webb City Farmers' Market, where he is a long-time member.

The Champion of the Year award recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to Missouri's farmers' markets. The award is given annually by AgriMissouri and the Missouri Farmers' Market Association.

"We are proud of the great contributions Tim has made toward teaching youth and his community the importance of growing fresh fruits and vegetables," said Director of Agriculture Dr. Jon Hagler. "His commitment to sharing his love of gardening with others is inspiring and Tim's recognition as 2011 Champions of the Year is well deserved."

Tim is a long-time grower who has shown a commitment to teaching others. In 2004, he connected with other growers in the Webb City area through a University of Missouri Extension workshop on selling produce at farmers' markets, including then 12-year-old Josh. With Tim's guidance, the young man began growing and selling tomatoes and blackberries. And in less than six years, Josh's operation had grown to include more than 1,000 tomato plants and had paid for his pickup truck.

Tim now works through the Webb City Farmers' Market to teach others, including individuals within his native Hmong community, basic and advanced skills for growing and selling produce. He leads a well-received series of workshops on the use of high tunnels for growing vegetables, and most recently, he has shared knowledge gained on his farm about the impact of heavy irrigation on water pH and the effects of lowered pH on production.

Tim also serves as president of the Webb City Farmers' Market Board and led the effort to require all produce growers at the market complete a food safety course. Further, Tim serves as a mentor to other farmers' market growers, including market manager Eileen Nichols.

"Tim and his family are considered market treasures," said Eileen Nichols, market manager of the Webb City Farmers' Market and secretary of the Missouri Farmers' Market Association. "We are delighted to see him recognized as the champion he is for our market and for growers throughout the state."

Tim and his wife Violet volunteer with the local Kids Community Garden, growing the plants and securing donations for necessary materials and donating their time and plants to the annual "Let's Plant a Garden" day.

For more information about AgriMissouri, visit http://www.AgriMissouri.com.