Nebraska Extension is challenging Lincoln gardeners to grow extra produce this season to support those in need.
Each Tuesday during the summer, community members are asked to bring extra produce from their gardens to the Backyard Farmer Garden, 3850 Center St., from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. The produce will then be delivered to local food banks, pantries, kitchens and other charities.
“We want to help those in need receive nutritious and fresh foods, and what better way to do that than by providing produce grown right here?” said Terri James, assistant extension educator.
The effort is part of extension’s Cultivating Health Our Way program, which is working to provide fresh fruits and vegetables to emergency food access sites across the state. The program is a collaboration between Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education, extension master gardeners, Backyard Farmer, Produce from the Heart and NET.
Through CHOW, five Nebraska counties are growing community gardens with the help of local nutrition councils, schools and other partners. The sites were given $5,000 to plant, grow, harvest and transport produce to their partners. Extension educators, assistants and extension master gardeners in each county worked with their emergency food access site to determine which fresh fruits and vegetables their participants would recognize and use. In 2016, gardens grown with the help of SNAP Education produced and donated more than 4,000 pounds of produce worth an estimated $4,900.
CHOW officials receive input from teams of community members and can help communities apply for grants and certifications. The officials also help put together materials to create donation gardens. The gardens are then used to produce and promote fresh, nutritionally dense foods to community members.