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Ag department names Strafford couple farmers market champs

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The Missouri Department of Agriculture yesterday named Larry and Josephine Dowell, of Strafford, as 2011 Champions of the Year for their work promoting gardening, locally grown foods and farmers markets.

The Dowells were recognized at a ceremony held at the Fair Grove Farmers' Market, where they are members. State Rep. Shane Schoeller, R-Willard, also presented the couple with a House resolution recognizing their achievement, according to a news release from the agriculture department.

"We are proud of the great contributions the Dowells have made toward teaching youth in their community the importance of growing fresh fruits and vegetables," Director of Agriculture Jon Hagler said in the release. "The Dowells' commitment to sharing their love of gardening with others is inspiring, and their recognition as 2011 Champions of the Year is well deserved."

Larry, a retired doctor, and Josephine, a retired nurse, have been regulars of the Fair Grove Farmers' Market for seven years and also volunteer their time each week to the 345-member Fair Grove Farmers' Market Growing with Kids Club.

The Dowells are master gardeners through the University of Missouri Cooperative Extension Service’s Master Gardener program.

The Champion of the Year award, sponsored by AgriMissouri, a department of agriculture program, and the Missouri Farmers Market Association, recognizes contributions made to Missouri farmers markets and the communities they serve, according to the release.[[In-content Ad]]

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