Post written by Barry Mullins, Resource Development Coordinator/Program Planner at Missouri Ozarks Community Action
On October 12, 2016 Missouri Ozarks Community Action (MOCA) announced the opening of its newly constructed Richland Community Garden High Tunnel. The ceremony was officiated by MOCA’s Executive Director, David Miller. Honored guests were State Representative Steve Lynch, MOCA’s Board President Don Myers, Boy Scouts Ozarks Trails Council Executive Board Member David Cartner, USDA’s District Conservationist Mike Morris, Darlene Merritt of Lowes Home Improvement, Richland Chamber President Carrie Turner and members of the Richland Chamber of Commerce, fellow MOCA team members, volunteers, and community members.
The opening of this facility marks the beginning of a new phase for the community garden. With the addition of the high tunnel, the garden will also be able to serve food banks in the surrounding communities, providing fresh healthy vegetables to low income families and the elderly.
During 2016 the community garden raised over 450 lbs. of produce to help low income families eat healthy. With this addition, the community garden will be able to expand its impact by providing fresh vegetables to more families, local food banks, and senior centers. Providing comprehensive relief to the local food desert.
This facility was made possible through a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture. Missouri Ozarks Community Action partnered with the Boy Scouts of America, Lowes Home Improvement, and the Army Corp of Volunteers; as well as local business owner Scott McMahon.
Tobias Barnes, age 15, a Life Scout from Troop 202 of Waynesville, Missouri coordinated the construction of the High Tunnel as his Eagle Scout Project. Other volunteers included B Company 554th Engineer Battalion Basic Leadership Course, from Ft Leonard Wood, and MOCA’s weatherization crew.
Tobias and other scouts members have been involved in MOCA projects over the years, providing learning opportunities for scout members and MOCA team members, while also caring for and creating change in the community.