June 05, 2012

Mid-Missouri Residents' Green Thumbs Shine in Dept. of Ag Garden Cities Contest

Winning communities: Ashland, Boonville, Columbia, Fulton, Hartsburg, Holts Summit, Jefferson City & Kansas City

Seven Mid-Missouri communities are being honored for their gardening prowess. The Missouri Department of Agriculture's AgriMissouri Program is visiting garden-rich Ashland, Boonville, Columbia, Fulton, Hartsburg, Holts Summit, Jefferson City and Kansas City this month to honor the Missouri Garden Cities Contest winners. The contest included 731 communities and was part of the effort to map 10,000 gardens throughout the state.

"Nothing makes you value the freshness and quality of buying food locally than trying to grow it yourself, and it is outstanding to see so many Missourians supporting agriculture in their communities," said Director of Agriculture Dr. Jon Hagler. "We are proud to recognize communities whose residents have shown an outstanding commitment to fresh produce and agricultural education through their gardens."

Each of the winning communities receives a proclamation from Governor Jay Nixon, a sign to display in their town square or community garden and a Silver Spade Award from AgriMissouri to display in the City or Town Hall.

The Garden Cities Contest champions by category are:

  • Hartsburg - Less than 500 residents
  • Ashland - 500-2,500 residents
  • Holts Summit - 2,501-5,000 residents
  • Boonville - 5,001-10,000 residents
  • Fulton - 10,001-20,000 residents
  • Jefferson City - 20,001-50,000 residents
  • Columbia - 50,001-150,000 residents
  • Kansas City - Over 150,000 residents

Hartsburg, Mo. was randomly selected from among the winning cities to also receive 50 trees, all species native to Missouri, from Forrest Keeling Nursery.

A list of all participants in the Garden Cities Contest is available online at http://agrimissouri.com/gardens/gardencities.php and includes the final contest ranking for each community.

The contest was part of the 10,000 Garden Challenge, which kicked off last spring in St. Louis with an announcement by Gov. Jay Nixon, First Lady Georganne Nixon and Dr. Jon Hagler encouraging Missourians to connect to agriculture by growing fresh produce, native plants and ornamental flowers in their backyards and communities. More than 10,000 Missouri gardeners registered their plots during the Challenge, which ran March through December. To register your garden and find helpful tips to get growing, visit http://agrimissouri.com/gardens/.

For more information on the Missouri Department of Agriculture and its programs, visit http://mda.mo.gov.