January 24, 2013

Kansas City Community Gardens, Metro Lutheran Ministry to Receive Grants to Support Local Food Initiatives

Missouri Director of Agriculture Dr. Jon Hagler today awarded Kansas City Community Gardens and Metro Lutheran Ministry grants to support their efforts to bring more local produce and gardening opportunities to families in the Kansas City area. The grants were awarded through the Missouri Department of Agriculture's Local Food Matching Grant Program.

"Through the Local Foods Matching Grant Program, we are able to connect local organizations and individuals to the resources they need to make a difference for their communities," Dr. Hagler said. "Just as these outstanding groups are supporting their neighbors, it is important that we help them make the most of the resources available among their members, within their communities and in our state."

Grant funds may be used for a number of efforts to support and promote local foods, including for the creation of a farmers' market or the expansion of an urban or community garden. Grant funds may also be used to promote youth initiatives that combat hunger, poor nutrition and obesity in collaboration with community gardens or farmers' markets. Recipients in the Kansas City area plan to use grant funds to connect local residents with community gardens and orchards.

Kansas City Community Garden's Self-Help Gardening Program works to improve nutrition and reduce food costs for low-income families. The group will use the grant to fund supplies and equipment needed to build and expand community gardens throughout Kansas City.

Metro Lutheran Ministry pledged to plant an urban fruit orchard in the Spring Valley Park area using their grant. The orchard will consist of a variety of trees including pear, apple, peach, rhubarb, pecan and many others. Once the trees become fruitful, the produce will be used in the Ministry's food pantry.

This is the second year for the Local Foods Matching Grants program. Grant recipients may receive up to $5,000, and must provide a 50 percent match to the grant funds. The match may include cash, as well as labor, equipment and other in-kind contributions. A total of eight grants were awarded. Other recipients include Gateway Greening, Green's Country Store, Northside Youth and Senior Services Center and Our City Farm in the St. Louis area and Ozarks Regional YMCA and Springfield Urban Agriculture Coalition in the Springfield area.

To learn more about the Missouri Department of Agriculture and its programs, visit the Department online at mda.mo.gov.