COLUMBIA- The Missouri Prairie Foundation (MPF) held a native plants sale on Saturday afternoon to encourage community members to purchase more sustainable options for their homes and gardens.
Erika Van Vranken, the special projects coordinator for MPF, said the impact of the plants available for purchase stretches much further than their flower beds.
“Native plants just kind of provide the building block for ecosystems that are healthy, that have lots of animals and wildlife, bees, butterflies, birds, things like that,” Van Vranken said.
The event also strived to educate shoppers on how to garden with native plants. Van Vranken said MPF works to conserve native prairies, but growing prairie plants in yards and gardens can create similar ecosystems for wildlife.
She also said that substituting native plants for traditional greenery can be better for homeowners.
“They’ve adapted to the conditions here. So they’re better for wildlife and better for the environment,” Van Vranken said. “Sometimes they can be easier to grow also.”
Van Vranken also said prairie landscape originally took up a third of all Missouri land. Today, Missouri has 0.5% of its original native prairies remaining.
Volunteer Jane Haslag said that residents can take part in solutions by creating “prairies” in their own yards.
“Across the country, about 50,000 acres are taken away every day, due to construction and other things,” Haslag said. “The amount of vacant land we have for wildlife to live on is decreasing every day. So what we can do is to help provide space, we need to share the earth.”
Four vendors from mid-Missouri had plants available for pre-order and purchase: Gaylena’s Garden, Hawthorn Chapter-MO Native Plant Society, Missouri Wildflowers Nursery and SunRise Gardens. They sold a variety of plants, seeds, shrubs, and trees.
“People came out and bought, and most of our vendors are almost sold out,” Haslag said.
MPF hosts several events in the fall and spring in efforts to add more native plants to gardens across Missouri. Haslag said she hopes the events will help protect Missouri’s ecosystems and wildlife for years to come.
“We want to maintain these butterflies for our grandchildren to see that we need to help feed them,” Haslag said. “Native plants will bring so much life to your yard.”