2015 Garden Preparation

NIBS (N.E.E.E.D. Informal Brainstorming Session) occurs Wednesday mornings, 7:30am at the Downtown Diner located at 127 East High Street.  This week there is lots to consider as we approach the 2015 growing season and The Spring Membership Meeting.

2015-Composting Garden

Thanks to Bluebird Composting LLC for bringing out the organic compost to prepare the garden for this year’s gardening.  A thank you also goes to Mike Oney and Clint Pinkley for taking the time and work to spread the compost.

A Slightly Different Image?

Those of us involved with the NEEED Project may have become so enthralled with the response to the fresh, wholesome vegetables produced in the Heart of Missouri Garden in 2014 and delivered to Senior Nutrition Centers and food pantries that we’ve forgotten the other co-equal components of the NEEED Project. That’s easy to understand. The response – appreciation – of the recipients was truly overwhelming and the dedicated, hard-working members of the NEEED Project who grew and delivered those veggies deserve nothing but our highest praise.

However, as a founder of the Project, I’m compelled to remember and urge others to remember that growing fresh, wholesome vegetables for donation to those facing food insecurity is just one of four co-equal objectives of the whole NEEED Project.

Indeed, a Heart of Missouri Garden plot is much more than just a place to grow veggies for donation for those in need. It’s also a place where new technologies are tested, combined, perfected and publically demonstrated and a place where volunteers learn to apply those technologies. That is to say, a Heart of Missouri Garden is, at the same time, a laboratory, a test bed and training site.

Yes – that’s a slightly different image from the one we’ve tended to project in the past but it should not detract in any way from the image of a veggie garden simply growing produce for the needy. It should, in fact, enhance that humanitarian image.

Jack Ryan

You are invited to the annual meeting on Tuesday, September 23


Everyone is invited to The N.E.E.E.D. Project’s annual meeting on Tuesday, September 23, 6:30 pm at the Coca Cola Community Room, 605 Washington, Jefferson City, MO.

Mark your calendars now and watch for more news about the program. You’ll want to be there to

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see reports of our impressive progress so far and exciting news about future plans!


Bringing the rest of our mission to life

Synergy of four mutually supportive objectives has been the centerpiece of the NEEED Project from its inception. It’s in the name. It’s in the founding documents. (Articles of Incorporation, bylaws, filings with the IRS and promotional materials) Nutrition, Energy, Environment and Economic Development are its goals. 

Early on, a strategy was adopted whereby “a different kind of community garden” would be the first of those four objectives to be pursued because of its “humanitarian” impact, its visibility and potential for local support. The name, “Heart of Missouri Gardens” was adopted, officially registered as a component of the NEEED Project and presented to the public. That choice has been an obvious success.

Now it’s time to remember those three remaining synergistic components of the NEEED Project and take the first steps toward bringing them to life. Those steps are: #1) choose names for each component; #2) officially register those names with the Missouri Secretary of State and #3) present them to the public explaining how they relate to one another and the whole NEEED Project.

Consider the following: Do some creative thinking; Join the process. Suggest a name.

Energy – by integrating application of emerging technologies we can demonstrate efficacy of converting waste organic matter into usable energy that supports operation of the community gardens. In doing so, overall energy expense may be reduced and may enable year-round vegetable production. Widespread application would further reduce need for fossil fuels, imported or domestic.

Environment - Typically, seventy-five percent of material going into landfills is organic in nature and can be converted directly into a very useful soil amendment or converted into energy used to convert waste organic matter from other sources into that soil amendment. That is to say, much of the waste we now pay to dispose of can be turned into useful products – the basis for the “ultimate recycling program”!

Economic Development – Mid-Missouri has an excellent mix of urban and rural environments that provide all resources needed to develop, perfect demonstrate, utilize and market products made possible by emerging bio-technologies. There is the added advantage of having a charitable and educational community garden where those technologies can be tested and demonstrated and, most importantly, we have in our midst a public university where related research is underway.

A growing interest in a food production and distribution system more attentive to quality and nutritional value creates a huge economic development opportunity for innovative programs responsive to that interest. That simmering interest can almost be labeled “explosive “and it’s currently focused on promoting local, organic production of vegetables. The economic development potential can be realized in growing or generating and marketing products of organic origin, designing, fabricating and marketing associated equipment, informing the public how to utilize related products and services and training people to perform those tasks.

Please review ideas outlined above and suggest an appropriate name for each. As with HOMG, the name selected may have a significant impact on future development and play an important role, once we initiate serious fund raising efforts. Let your brain run wild – suggest a name(s).

Off the cuff examples are:

Energy – Green Energy Solutions

Environment – FreshEnviroTech

Economic Development – MOTECH Progress

(I’m sure you all can do better! Please try)

In a few days I’ll appoint a small, temporary committee to select names to be adopted, subject to approval of the Secretary of State. Participation on that committee will involve no more than two and most likely just one brief meeting. Along with your submission of names, let me know if you’d like to sit on that committee.

Best wishes to all,

Jack Ryan


The NEEED Project


Growing food and community at the Heart of Missouri Gardens

Volunteer work party at the Big Horn Drive garden

Volunteer work party at the Big Horn Drive garden

One of the best things about volunteering at our Heart of Missouri Gardens plot is the sense of community that is being created. Our volunteers range from age six to seniors. As a volunteer you can experience seeing the joy on children’s faces as they pick vegetables. Or hearing the thanks of the seniors who are enjoying the fresh produce at the nutrition centers. You can enjoy the hopeful feeling of being part of the start of an ambitious project Working together we are creating local solutions to critical issues of food insecurity, poor nutrition, energy, the environment, and economic development.

Find out how you can help as an individual or through your business, family, scout, or church group by calling us at 573-556-8660 or emailing at neeed2013@embarqmail.com.

If you would like to help with our mission but are unable to help at the garden, there are many other ways to be involved! We also need artists,

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writers, photographers, computer techs, speakers, etc. We also need your financial support for purchasing equipment and supplies. You can make a secure donation online here: Donate. All amounts, not matter how small, are greatly appreciated!

Want to learn more about our mission? Watch our video.

Everyone is invited to our Community Service Project Launch

Monday, June 23, 5:30 PM, 1009 Big Horn Drive, Jefferson City, MO.

We are very grateful to the Jefferson City Medical Group volunteers who are caring for our tomato sub-plot for this growing season.

We are very grateful to the Jefferson City Medical Group volunteers who are caring for our tomato sub-plot for this growing season.


Join us as we welcome volunteers from the Jefferson City Medical Group (JCMG) as our first community group to adopt a section of our garden! Learn some gardening tips and see the progress we have made!

Responding to an open invitation from the Heart of Missouri Gardens to individuals and groups to join in caring for sub-plots of our garden, a group from JCMG has volunteered to care for our tomatoes for this season. Like all produce from the garden, tomatoes produced will be donated to senior nutrition centers and other similar outlets.

The public is invited to attend the official launch of this cooperative program at an event in the garden at 1009 Big Horn Drive at 5:30 PM,

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Monday, June 23. Master Gardener Don Schneiders will be on hand to give tips on caring for tomatoes. And Dr. Bayan from Lincoln University will be available to answer questions about the biochar test plot within the garden.

The Heart of Missouri Gardens is a charitable and educational organization of volunteers that grow vegetables for donation to those in need. The garden, started this spring, is beginning to produce vegetables that are delivered to the Senior Nutrition Centers.

We invite individuals and groups to join this community service opportunity and assume the care of a sub-plot in the half-acre garden.

Don’t toss those radish tops!

We’ve been so busy with our Heart of Missouri Gardens plot that there hasn’t been time to update the website lately.  But we are excited to announce that we have started delivering fresh, nutritious produce to Central Missouri Area Agency on Aging Senior Nutrition Centers!  Seniors who eat lunches at the Clark Senior Center and the Senior Center at the Mall have begun to enjoy produce like radishes, lettuce, and chard with their meals.

Recipients have expressed to us how much they enjoy the food and appreciate all the hard work of our volunteers to bring it to them.  To find out how you or your organization can volunteer to help us with our mission, sign up for our email list by sending a message to neeed2013@embarqmail.com.  You can also help by making a secure online Donation to help us buy needed equipment and materials.

And now, about those radishes…..Radishes are abundant now in many local gardens and at farmer’s markets.  Did you know that you can eat the tops?  The trick is to eat them while they are very fresh. Tender leaves can be used in salads; larger, tougher leaves, in soups or even pesto!  If you don’t get them eaten in time, you can throw the tops in your compost pile, where they will contribute their nutrients to be used later in your garden.   Read more and see recipes at Don’t toss those radish greens!

Planting continues!

The planting has gone quite nicely thus far – a lot of plants in the ground and they look great. Thanks to all who have chipped in. That’s the good part: Now, for the rest of the story.

We still have a good many plants to put in the ground and seeds to be planted. We still need your help! This is a particularly critical time because the

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plants won’t survive long out of the ground and the seed needs to be planted in order to start growth at the proper time. Weather can really mess that up! We need to get that planting done when weather permits.

Weather permitting we plan to be working Friday, May 23, 8:00 -10:00 or 11:00 am, and Saturday, 8:00-10:00 or 11:00 am, and if needed, 6:00-8:00 pm. If you have time and are able, please join us! You can let us know by contacting Mike Lester at 573-556 8660 or cell: 573-291-4832.

Just a few more days of intensive effort and we’ll be past the crunch! Thanks again for all you’ve done. It looks great

~Jack Ryan, NEEED Project Chair

Planting time is here!

Tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and more! Spring planting time is here! We need your help to bring fresh produce to our Senior Nutrition Centers. Be part of our first planting work party at our heart of Missouri Gardens plot at 1009 Big Horn Drive, on Tuesday, May 20. Shifts start at 8 am, 9 am, and 6 pm. Come anytime and give whatever time you can. Bring a spade or shovel and a bucket if you have them. All are welcome, from experienced gardeners to beginners wanting to learn.

It’s time to garden! Exciting updates at our General Membership meeting on April 29

The public is invited to The NEEED Project general membership meeting

Tuesday, April 29, 6:30-8:00 PM

Coca Cola Building, 605 Washington, St, Jefferson City, MO.

Meeting highlights will include:

Two outstanding speakers:

Dr. Raymond Bayan, PhD, Lincoln University professor, biochar expert, and NEEED Project technical adviser, will speak on the benefits of biochar as a soil amendment.

Melinda Hemmelgarn, MS, RD, radio host of Food Sleuth Radio, will speak on “The Dirt on Food and Health,” the importance of good soil for good health.


Gardening updates:

We will begin our Heart of Missouri gardens this spring! Hear about our garden plots and how you can help us grow food for donation to Senior Nutrition Centers and other local charitable organizations.


Fundraising campaign kick-off:

Watch a short video highlighting our mission and goals and hear how your donation can be the Heart in the Heart of Missouri Gardens.


Short business meeting:

Voting on revisions to the by-laws. For a copy to review before the meeting send an email to NEEED2013@embarqmail.com.


All NEEED Project meetings are open to the public. Come and bring your friends and neighbors. We need your help to address the serious

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problem of food insecurity in mid-Missouri.