“Simple” Story Brings Many Connections

Bosh Bruening recently joined staff and employees of Vocational Services, Inc., who are helping him package his Growums products. The ready-to-grow packages are designed to introduce children to gardening and healthy eating. Those on hand were (from left) VSI Executive Director Kimbal Mothershead, Rachel George, Steven Slagle, Bruening, and Justin Buttram.

Sometimes there’s a tale with so many unexpected connections, it’s almost unbelievable.

But when Missouri native and Liberty resident Bosh Bruening tells you his, you can believe it.

Bruening has some six decades experience in the landscape, nursery and garden center industries. More recently, he’s ventured into internet technology related to horticulture, building websites and internet marketing efforts for businesses like Lowe’s and other companies.

His latest effort is where things get interesting. After work involving ready-to-grow garden packages, including one with a major national retailer, he realized the market for children’s versions was wide open. He also saw it as more than just a business opportunity. The result was Growums, a company that sells water-ready gardening kits for children.

“Our kits are designed to be easy to use and fun, and they teach kids about the basics of gardening,” Bruening explained.

Growums kits come with everything needed to get started, including seeds, soil, a water tray and 60-days of educational content and videos delivered online. There’s a variety of kits to choose from, so parents can find one that’s perfect for their child’s interests.” All that’s needed is water and children ages 5-11.

Bruening sees an even larger issue. “There are generations out there who have never had anybody show them how to grow anything,” he said. “This is a fun way for children to experience that firsthand.”

The Workshop Connection

Another aspect to this story involves Missouri sheltered workshops that provide employment opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. When Bruening was involved with highway beautification in five states, one job in particular – staking young trees in highway right-of-ways – required a lot of hands.

Bruening grew up in Higginsville and remembered a workshop there, Lafayette County Enterprises. They were hired to help with the work and performed so well, Bruening contacted other shops, including Ideal Industries in Richmond.

“I had good experiences with all of these organizations,” Bruening recalls. “I always had it in my mind to work with them whenever I could.”

With his new Growums effort and a need for packaging and more, he contacted a workshop near his home in Liberty, Vocational Services. The result has been another success story, with Growums using two of VSI’s three locations in Clay and Platte counties to assemble and package the unique products.

“They’re really easy to work with,” he said of VSI, noting Growums offers several different “gardens” with different seeds in various combinations to fill trays containing 20 gardens per tray. “It’s not an easy job,” he said. “It’s a complex job with a lot of pieces, and they must go through a lot of steps, then shrink wrap it when they’re finished. They do all of that very well.” After checking one recent batch, he found the output was perfect.

Another Connection

Growums has been doing so well that Bruening finds himself traveling again. He recently met with the head horticulturist of a company with 700 stores in the Midwest. After talking a while, Bruening learned that the man has three children with autism. At that moment, he decided to give part of the Growums proceeds to Autism Speaks. “When you hear stories like that, how can you not want to help,” he explained. “I feel like this is something to give back.”

Bruening, a third-generation gardener who lists himself as “head gardener” with Growums, hopes all children have an opportunity to learn and experience gardening. He also sees an opportunity with class projects, fundraising and more. “What’s better than getting kids outside, and getting their hands in the dirt,” he concluded. “It’s magic to them.”

More information is available at the Growums website, growums.com.

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