November 11, 2011

Dept. of Ag Recognizes Maple Place Community Garden Organizer in the 10,000 Garden Challenge

The Missouri Department of Agriculture has once again awarded a Missouri gardener with a $500 gift card for their participation in the 10,000 Garden Challenge. Holly Eisenbruan of St. Louis, Mo. received the eighth $500 Tractor Supply Company gift card through their participation in the effort to get 10,000 gardens growing throughout the state.

"The 10,000 Garden Challenge is doing an outstanding job highlighting the efforts of Missourians to provide fresh, nutritious food for themselves and their neighbors," said Gov. Jay Nixon. "The First Lady and I continue to see the momentum build with more gardeners getting on board to grow local produce, give a boost to the economy and support Missouri agriculture."

Eisenbruan is one of two garden leaders at the Maple Place Community Garden, where she maintains two plots and donates the produce to people in the community who might not otherwise have regular access to produce or be able to garden themselves.

Her involvement in the community garden is about forming relationships and deepening existing ones with members of her community, she said. "The most rewarding part for me is delivering the produce I have grown."

In the spirit of the community garden, she plans to work with the group to decide how to best use her $500 prize from their participation in the 10,000 Garden Challenge to benefit everyone involved in the garden.

The Maple Place Community Garden began two years ago, with Eisenbruan's help, through a grant from Gateway Greening. The community garden is home to 16 plots cared for by individuals and families, as well as ornamental plantings cared for by the group.

"The 10,000 Garden Challenge encourages Missourians to get their hands in the dirt and to connect with agriculture, local foods, the outdoors and healthy eating," said Director of Agriculture Dr. Jon Hagler. "Holly and the entire team at the Maple Place Community Garden are a great example of the benefits of Missourians connecting with their neighbors and agriculture through their food."

The 10,000 Garden Challenge kicked off this 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. Since that time, over 8,000 Missouri gardeners have registered their plots in the 10,000 Garden Challenge. After every 1,000th garden is registered, a drawing is held for a $500 gift certificate from Tractor Supply Company.

Missourians can register their gardens as individuals or as groups at The 10,000 Garden Challenge website offers helpful gardening resources, including tips on vegetable planting, calendars and health and nutrition facts.

To learn more about the 10,000 Garden Challenge, visit For more information on the Missouri Department of Agriculture, visit