Governor Jay Nixon and the First Lady have a challenge for Missourians. It’s called the “ten-thousand Gardens Challenge,” which is an effort to encourage gardening across state this spring.  Click to hear KMZU’s Chelsea Wade talk with Spokesperson Scott Holste:

Scott Holste

Press Release from the Office of Governor Jay Nixon

ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Whether it’s a home, community, church or school garden, Gov. Jay Nixon and First Lady Georganne Nixon are challenging Missourians to start a garden this spring as a way to grow nutritious food, get healthy exercise outdoors, and provide a boost to their local economies.

The Governor and Mrs. Nixon were joined by Missouri Director of Agriculture Dr. Jon Hagler today at Bowood Farms in St. Louis for the launch of the 10,000 Gardens Challenge by the Department of Agriculture’s AgriMissouri program. The challenge encourages hobby and professional gardeners, rural and urban, alike to join in the effort to get 10,000 gardens growing across the state this year.

“Missouri has rich, fertile soil that’s not only perfect for farming, but also great for gardening,” Gov. Nixon said. “The First Lady and I are encouraging Missourians to join us in participating in the 10,000 Garden Challenge as a way both to get back to nature and to plant and prosper from healthy, nutritious foods. Those are especially important lessons for Missouri’s children.”

Missourians can register their gardens as individuals or as groups at AgriMissouri.com. The 10,000 Garden Challenge website offers helpful gardening resources, including tips on vegetable planting, calendars, and health and nutrition facts. Whether consumers are growing fruits, native plants, ornamental flowers or vegetables, they are encouraged to register and learn more about planting. As an added incentive, every 1,000th garden registered will receive a $500 gift certificate from Tractor Supply Company.

“Missouri’s gardens also give a boost to the economy, with the produce and flowering plants that they provide for the many farmers’ markets around the state,” Gov. Nixon said. “When Missourians buy and eat local produce from a farmers’ market, they’re not only eating healthier, they’re also putting their money to good use right in their communities.”

In 2009, Mrs. Nixon planted an herb and vegetable garden at the Governor’s Mansion; the garden was replanted last year and will be again in 2011. The Missouri Department of Agriculture located a community garden for the first time on its grounds in 2009 as well. Both gardens highlight the importance of Missouri’s agricultural products, and both are registered in the 10,000 Garden Challenge.

To learn more about the 10,000 Garden Challenge, visit MO.gov.