In the early Summer of 2010 community members and Kilgore’s owners and employees tilled up the lot immediate north of the Kilgore’s Pharmacy at 700 N. Providence. The intention was to make a garden so fresh produce could be donated to Nora Stewart Early Learning Center, a low-income day care in Columbia’s First Ward. The ground was tilled, plants went in the ground, and volunteer workdays were underway. Kilgore’s, by mid-summer, decided that the project was ready for the next step, so they hired the Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture to manage the workdays and develop a larger plan for the garden.
CCUA has been managing the Kilgore’s garden from mid-Summer 2010 till present. In that time period hundreds of volunteer hours have been logged, thousands of pounds of food have been donated to Nora Stewart, the garden has vastly increased its bed space, and many perennials (including seven fruit trees) have been planted. In 2012 alone over 1,000 lbs of fresh naturally grown food has been donated to Nora Stewart. Produce goes straight into the students lunches and snacks.
This exciting partnership between a low-income preschool, an urban ag non-profit, and a local business has been a great experience for all involved parties. An extra special tip of the hat goes to Kilgore’s for their continued support of this project. Without their financial dedication, land-use, and cheerful support from owners and employees this project would be many times smaller in scope if even able to exist at all.
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