November 15, 2011

Dept. of Ag Recognizes Manheim-area Community Gardener 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. Kay Kilgore of Kansas City, Mo. received the ninth $500 Tractor Supply Company gift card through her 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 as we approach our 10,000-garden goal with more gardeners getting on board to grow local produce, give a boost to the economy and support Missouri agriculture."

Kilgore grows and maintains multiple plots in Manheim Park Community Garden, an affiliate of Kansas City Community Gardens, the KC Healthy Kids Initiative and Lincoln University Cooperative Extension's Kansas City Urban Impact Center.

Kilgore moved to Manheim Park four years ago from Springfield, Mo., and through the garden has connected with everyone and everything going on in the neighborhood, she said. "Growing in a community garden is like having someone come to your table to break bread. It's about families touching and nourishing families, the essence of community."

Kay admits she bit off more than she could chew in the beginning, but that with the help of her neighbors and in the environment of a community garden, "the garden trains you as much as you train your garden."

"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. "Kay, along with the gardening partners she has found in her neighborhood and Kansas City Community Gardens, is a great example of the benefits of Missourians connecting with others and with agriculture through their food."

Kansas City Community Gardens is a not-for-profit organization that works with over 1,500 gardens throughout the Kansas City Metro Area, including over 200 school and community plots. The organization is focused on helping children, community groups and individuals living on low or fixed incomes grow their own food in garden plots located in their own backyards and at vacant lots, community centers and schools throughout their neighborhoods.

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 9,000 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 learn more about the Challenge and register their gardens as individuals or as groups at For more information on the Missouri Department of Agriculture and its programs, visit