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First Lady Jane Beshear Seeks Applicants for the 2015 Commonwealth Garden Initiative

Ky. Governor's Garden, Flickr

The Governor's Garden program began in 2009, inspired by the 'victory garden' at the White House, as a way to encourage people to go back to Kentucky's roots as an agricultural state by growing their own gardens and eating healthier food. For the second year, First Lady Jane Beshear is opening up the Commonwealth Garden Initiative to selected schools, churches, parks and social organizations who are interested in beginning their own community gardens. On Sounds Good, Kate Lochte speaks with Beshear about how to sign up for the initiative and how it provides a means for an organization to give back to its community.

Governor's Garden Logo

The Governor's Garden program was inspired by the 'victory garden' at the White House and first lady Michelle Obama's effort to bringing awareness to childhood obesity and healthy eating. First Lady Jane Beshear partnered with several government, education and agricultural organizations to introduce this plan on the statewide level with a garden at the Governor's Mansion, now located next door at the Capital Education Center, and several gardens across the Commonwealth. There are currently six locations, but the initiative is seeking applications from schools, churches and community groups interested in putting together a proposal to make a garden, which would then receive help from the Governors Office of Ag Policy by the way of seeds, information and guidance on what to plant, how to plant, how to manage pests, etc.

Jane Beshear says it's important for kids and community members to see the product of their labor - the vegetables that they grow and then to eat healthier together by donating the product to local soup kitchens, local food banks and school cafeterias. Gardens make a great outdoor classroom, she says, where science, mathematics, and communication skills are all utilized as the garden develops.

"It's an important part of our heritage, but it's also an important part of our future. We need people who are healthier, we need people who are outside, we need people who can communicate and work with others. Lots of lessons can be learned from these gardens and from the efforts that people put into them."

Groups interested can fill out the application on the Commonwealth Garden website and be prepared to do a narrative on what would be unique about the project and what the need or benefit might before a garden in the community and projections for long term impact. The deadline is February 15 because the growing season starts soon after.

Commonwealth Garden Initiative Application

See more photos from the Governor's Garden

Matt Markgraf joined the WKMS team as a student in January 2007. He's served in a variety of roles over the years: as News Director March 2016-September 2019 and previously as the New Media & Promotions Coordinator beginning in 2011. Prior to that, he was a graduate and undergraduate assistant. He is currently the host of the international music show Imported on Sunday nights at 10 p.m.
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