Gardening connoisseur leads food panel at MU expo

Apr 14, 2014

Experts from all over the state came together to challenge major issues in the food industry during the MU botanical garden expo today.

The panel was led by television host and garden expert P. Allen Smith and was comprised of over fifteen food production and consumption experts in the Mid-Missouri area.

Credit Natalie Maynor

Although P. Allen Smith was facilitating the discussion he also shared a lot of input on the topics discussed. 

“We talked a lot about the producer of local food and the consumer of local food and sometimes they are not in the same room and they don’t know each other exist,” said Smith. “And so to help advance this idea of locally grown food, better food for our communities, and growing community gardens we have to get together and we have to talk and that was the most exciting thing about the event.”

The discussion was focused on urban agriculture and local foods but also spanned topics like food accessibility, production profitability and promoting nutrition and food security for current and future generations across the state.

“It is very important to get our knowledge out to the public because there are a lot of things that the public— that they don’t realize is happening or is going on throughout the city and our community,” said Art Gelbert, president of the Columbia Farmer’s Market. “Education is the key to growth.”

Most of the panelist agreed that education was the overarching theme of the discussion. MU Botanic Garden officials say the panel was aimed toward promoting awareness and community involvement. The round table discussion was the conclusion to a two-day event in honor of MU’s 175th birthday.