History could soon be made at a West Virginia Black Bears baseball game in Morgantown — but it won’t have anything to do with what happens on field.
On July 28, the Grow This: West Virginia Garden Challenge will attempt to break the record for “world’s largest gardening lesson.”
“Setting a world record is a natural fit for Grow This, because the whole reason we started this challenge was to get West Virginians excited about gardening,” Kristin McCartney, WVU Extension assistant professor and public health specialist, said. “We’ve reached tens of thousands of West Virginians with our free seeds over the last six years, but this event gives us the opportunity to reach more people in one place than ever before.”
Grow This, created by the West Virginia University Extension Family Nutrition Program, gives away free seeds to any West Virginia resident who fills out an online survey. The program’s popularity exploded in 2020 when COVID-19 lockdowns sparked an increased interest in home gardening. Over 16,000 people signed up for seeds in 2023.
Grow This participant Sherry Weaver will lead the world-record gardening lesson. She’s the winner of the recent the “Grow This Has Talent” online contest, receiving hundreds of votes from fellow growers on the challenge’s Facebook page.
Weaver, a Clay County native, lives in Shinnston with her husband and two daughters. She grew up around farming but only started gardening in 2015. Since then, her garden efforts have grown to include selling produce and baked goods at local markets, as well as sharing her love and knowledge of gardening on Tiktok, Facebook and Instagram, where she goes by the handle Quite Contrary Kitchen Gardens (@QCKitchenGardens).
Sherry Weaver, winner of the recent Grow This Has Talent contest (COURTESY PHOTO)
“I am so excited to be able to work with Grow This and WVU Extension to share what I love with such an amazing and exciting crowd,” Weaver said. “Besides, what is more all American than learning to grow your own food at a baseball game?”
Weaver’s lesson will focus on using recycled materials in your garden.
The current world record was set in Turkmenistan in October 2022, where 569 people learned how to plant grape vines. Gates open at 6 p.m. and first pitch will be 7 p.m. as the Black Bears will face the Mahoning Valley Scrappers of Niles, Ohio.
The world record attempt will take place later in the game. Attendees can stop by the WVU Extension table along the concourse and collect the supplies they will need to complete the activity.
“The West Virginia Black Bears are excited to team up with the WVU Extension Family Nutrition Program in this attempt to break the world record,” Trevor Dolan, Black Bears sponsorship and sales manager said. “We look forward to packing the Monongalia County Ballpark and help fans get their green thumb!”
WVU Extension Family Nutrition Program
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