May 31, 2011

10,000 Garden Challenge Joins Forces with Missouri's Food Banks to "Grow & Give"

The Missouri Department of Agriculture recently launched a new component of the 10,000 Garden Challenge - the "Grow & Give" initiative. The program represents a joint effort with Missouri's food banks and pantries to provide more fresh produce to Missourians in need.

"One of our goals with the 10,000 Garden Challenge is to get fresh, wholesome, locally-grown produce into the hands of those who need it most," said Director of Agriculture Dr. Jon Hagler. "The response to the challenge to grow and register Missouri gardens has been outstanding, and I look forward to seeing Missourians come together in their communities to help their neighbors in this way."

The 10,000 Garden Challenge is an initiative to register 10,000 Missouri gardens to promote agriculture, gardening, health and nutrition. The "Grow & Give" initiative encourages Missouri gardeners to donate a portion of the produce from their plots to a food bank or pantry in their area.

The announcement kicked off with a pledge from the Department's AgriMissouri team to donate produce from their Growing Together Garden to the Food Bank of Central Missouri and a challenge to other Missouri gardeners to do the same.

"The Missouri Department of Agriculture has been a tremendous partner with organizations like the Food Bank of Central Missouri," said Executive Director Peggy Kirkpatrick. "We both have the same passion for feeding people."

The 10,000 Garden Challenge website also features a new color-coded map of Missouri food banks and pantries, offering visitors a ‘one-click' connection to those resources for helping their fellow Missourians.

"Grow & Give" donations may be made directly to Missouri's food banks and pantries. Contact information for Missouri's regional food banks and pantries is available online at

On March 14, Governor Nixon, the First Lady and Director of Agriculture Dr. Jon Hagler challenged Missourians to plant and register 10,000 gardens throughout the state.

Since then, more than 20,000 people have visited the 10,000 Garden Challenge website and more than 3,400 gardeners have signed up to help reach the goal of registering 10,000 gardens. As an incentive for registering, for every 1,000 gardens registered a drawing is held for a $500 gift certificate from Tractor Supply Company. The 10,000 Garden Challenge recently awarded its third certificate to Fred Reinkemeyer of Henley, Mo.

For additional details or to register your garden in the 10,000 Garden Challenge, visit

More information about the Missouri Department of Agriculture and its programs is available online at