Northwest Iowa — Garden programs in Lyon and O’Brien counties are receiving some financial assistance.
In the midst of record-setting food pantry usage throughout the state, Growing Together Mini-Grants will provide fresh produce and nutrition education to pantries in 2023 through Iowa State University Extension and Outreach’s SNAP-Education program.
A total of 30 projects are being funded, with the goal of increasing food security and promoting healthy food access and nutrition education. This year, the Growing Together Iowa project will expand to five new counties. A map is available that shows where projects are funded.
Master Gardener volunteers plant donation gardens with partners, support their community with plant-a-row programs to get more produce into food pantries and glean fresh produce from farmers’ markets and home gardeners. All produce is donated to local food pantries, food banks, and other food distribution sites with accompanying nutrition education materials.
Extension officials tell us that in O’Brien County, the money will be used to maintain donation gardens in Sanborn and Sheldon and collect excess home gardening produce donations. A container gardening class will be offered to food pantry clients at Love INC as well as “Pick Your Own” gardening opportunities.
They say that in Lyon County, the money will help expand the donation garden to meet the produce needs of ATLAS of Lyon County. Opportunities for food pantry clients will be provided including container gardening workshops, garden tours, and helping hours.