Health Department

National Gardening Month

National Garden Month

Health Article by Larry D. Jones, MPH, Health Director

April 16, 2013

After what seems to be a never ending winter, it appears that Old Man Winter may finally be on his way out! With the warmer temperatures and the sun shining, it’s the perfect time to start thinking about or planting your own backyard garden.

With April bringing warm weather and spring showers, it has been recognized as National Garden Month. Every April communities, organizations, and individuals nationwide celebrate gardening by participating in numerous activities to help to make America a greener, healthier, more livable place!

A few ways that you can celebrate National Garden Month include:

· Plant a Row for the Hungry- Independence is home to more than 10 community garden sites. This includes the Community Service League (CSL) Community Garden. The CSL garden is home to over 25 raised bed garden plots, which are available to rent through CSL. For more information on this garden, and how it supports a local food pantry, contact Pat Farell with the Community Service League at (816) 254-4100.

· Join a Community Garden in Your Area- Independence has many gardens spread throughout the community, for a location near you please visit our website at

· Organize a Community Green-Up Day- Spring is for cleaning, both indoors and out! Spring cleaning marks the end of winter and the beginning of a new season, and like many activities, it's more fun when you share it. Whether it is your street, neighborhood, town park, or any other public space could use some greening up; all it takes is a little organization. Talk to your neighbors and start small; focus on picking up trash or raking leaves. A little beautification can go a long way.

· Volunteer at a Local School Garden- In addition to community gardens, Independence also works with local elementary schools in both the Independence and Fort Osage School Districts along with the Boys & Girls Club in varying capacities to support nutrition and garden education in our youth. If you are interested in learning more about volunteer opportunities, please contact the Independence Health Department at (816) 325-7185.

To promote and further the growth of our local gardens and gardeners, the Independence Health Department has teamed up with Kansas City Community Gardens to host three Spring Plant Distributions in our area. These distributions will be held at the Independence Health Department, which is located at 515 S. Liberty, on May 7 and May 15 from 3 p.m. – 6 p.m.

To participate in this program, you must be a member of Kansas City Community Garden (memberships can be purchased on-site). Membership is $2 for those who qualify for low or no-income. Membership for all others is $10. All members are entitled to receive 10 packets of seeds (your choice), a five-pound bag of fertilizer, a community garden newsletter and discounts on additional seeds, fertilizer and tiller loans.

In response to the popularity of our spring garden class series, we will continue to offer free gardening classes to the public with our partners at Kansas City Community Gardens. For information on upcoming summer garden classes, please stay tuned to our website,

For more information on how to get involved with gardens in your area, please contact the Independence Health Department at 816-325-7185. Happy Spring and Happy Planting!