As part of National Agriculture Week Missouri Governor and First Lady Jay and Georganne Nixon launched a "10,000 Garden Challenge" at Bowood Farms last Friday. Before speaking to the press, the Governor, in purple tie above, and First Lady toured Bowood's hoop house and vegetable garden. Bowood's John McPheeters (right foreground) and son-in-law Dave Rickard (far left) led the tour along together with Bowood's Horticultural Specialist Ellen Barredo.
Governor Nixon credited his wife, standing behind Nixon, for spearheading the gardening effort in the State of Missouri. When the charming First Lady spoke she talked about her experience developing a vegetable garden on the grounds of the Governor's Mansion in Jefferson City, and how much she enjoys giving school children a tour. A former teacher and lawyer, the First Lady believes that by teaching children to garden, even with a plant as simple as a cherry tomato, they'll be hooked for life, especially once they've tasted what they've grown.
The "10,000 Garden Challenge" is an effort to connect gardeners with knowledge about what to plant in Missouri. Whether gardening on a patio or in a large community garden, the website offers gardening advice provided by the Challenge's sponsors, which include the Missouri Botanical Garden, Powell Gardens in Kansas City, and University of Missouri Extension. Every 1000th registrant will get a $500 gift certificate to the Tractor Supply Company, which I discovered sells more than tractors. As of today there are 535 gardens registered, two of which are in the Central West End.
After the presentation, I understand that The First Lady saw the Governor and his entourage on their way, while she stayed behind to shop at Bowood. Can't blame her for that!