By Susan DeBlieck, Caitlin Szymanski, and Christine Hradek—Iowa State University Extension and Outreach
AMES, Iowa –29 county projects across Iowa will receive Growing Together mini grants through Iowa State University Extension and Outreach’s SNAP-Education. This is the fifth year mini grant funds have been made available to Master Gardener volunteers, resulting in more than 300,000 pounds of produce being donated in communities across the state.
The projects are focused on increasing food security and promoting healthy food access. Funding is made available through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education.
“Thanks to SNAP-Education funds, we are increasing the capacity of donation gardens,” said Susan DeBlieck, Master Gardener state coordinator with ISU Extension and Outreach. “Master Gardener volunteers are building strong partnerships to build community food security.”
To be eligible to receive a grant, applicants must be an active Iowa Master Gardener volunteer, have the support of their county ISU Extension and Outreach staff, and have strong partnerships with community organizations that serve Iowans experiencing poverty.
County extension directors say the funds continue to make a positive impact on food accessibility in their communities. “Muscatine County Master Gardeners are excited to partner with Iowa Master Gardeners and SNAP-Ed for a fifth year in our Growing Together gardens,” said Krista Regennitter, ISU Extension and Outreach Muscatine County director. “This funding allows us to continue the great work of growing fresh produce that will directly benefit low resource families in Muscatine County.”
This year, Muscatine County received another Growing Together mini grant to expand and maintain two community donation gardens to benefit the Muscatine Community Food Pantry.