Gardening mogul P. Allen Smith to visit MU

Saturday, April 12, 2014 | 7:51 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — P. Allen Smith, gardening mogul and star of three garden and lifestyle-centered TV shows, will visit MU to celebrate Thomas Jefferson’s birthday and spark conversations surrounding locally grown food and urban agriculture.

The PBS personality will arrive Sunday and facilitate several events before he leaves Monday. The Mizzou Botanic Garden brought Smith in to celebrate MU’s 175th anniversary and the garden’s 15th anniversary.

Smith is the star of “P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home,” “P. Allen Smith’s Garden to Table” and “P. Allen Smith Gardens.” He has also written cookbooks and has an active social media presence.

“He's sort of an institution for some people. He's been on TV in different circuits for a long time and is considered an expert," said Madeline Beyer, senior communications assistant with the Mizzou Botanic Garden.

On Sunday, Jefferson’s birthday, Mizzou Botanic Garden will throw a party on the quad with food, drinks and speakers, including Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin.

“We’re pleased that he (Smith) has an interest in Thomas Jefferson. His knowledge on Jefferson allowed us to organize events centered on our nation’s third president, of whom the university is quite fond,” said Pete Millier, director of the Mizzou Botanic Garden.

Next, Smith will give a presentation in the Reynolds Alumni Center about Thomas Jefferson, followed by a book signing.

Smith will garden at the MU Children’s Learning Garden at 9 a.m. Monday then moderate a local harvest roundtable discussion. Eighteen panelists will convene to discuss local food production, local food distribution and local healthy food, as well as educating consumers on how different organizations can collaborate, such as gardens and farmers markets. Sustain Mizzou will attend to provide a student viewpoint.

"It’s an opportunity that not many have to listen to a lot of knowledgeable people talk about a variety of subjects,” Beyer said. “We've got people coming from all over the state to discuss local food, urban agriculture and how people can integrate those things into their daily lives and how it affects the community.”

Supervising editor is Allie Hinga.

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