By Nadia Navarrete-TIndall, Specialty Crops & Native Plant Specialist for Lincoln University, Jefferson City, MO
Photo of wild plums at Second Christian Church: Nadia Navarrette-Tindall.
In 2018, Friends of Jefferson City Community Garden received an MPF Prairie Garden Grant to establish a pollinator garden that included native wildflowers and edible shrubs at the Second Christian Church (631 Lafayette St). I assisted with advice during the proposal process, and they received the grant in April 2018. I helped them establish the garden that October.
In 2019, I helped organize a get-together, along with additional volunteers Patsy Johnson and William Roundtree, with the purpose of making community members aware of the use of goldenglow (Rudbeckia laciniata) as an edible green.
Since then established species including elderberries, wild plums, a paw paw, a smooth sumac, and various wildflowers are thriving with the care of William.
This year, elderberries and a wild plum were very productive and, with the help of Lincoln University Specialty Crops Program staff Tony Sparer and Chris Larson, Patsy and William gathered more than 30 pounds of elderberry fruits.
Later in 2022, the church and the LU-SCP plan to offer a class to teach how to process elderberries and prepare value-added products. The event will be open to the local community.
Gardening and other conservation groups, parks, schools, and other entities in Missouri and immediately surrounding states are invited to submit proposals to MPF’s Prairie Garden Grants Program. Gardens must be available to the public and must incorporate native prairie plants. In 2023, MPF would like to award several grants to help fund the establishment or improvement of prairie gardens or plantings. Grants will not exceed $800 each. Those with smaller projects are encouraged to apply as well. Matching funds are not required, but proposals with secured matching funds may be evaluated higher than others. Deadline for submission is January 15, 2023 with funding dispersed in February.