For the fourth consecutive year, Nebraska Extension’s Growing Together Nebraska program has awarded funding to 10 communities across the state to increase access to fruits and vegetables in food pantries. More than $27,000 has been designated to support the effort.
Growing Together Nebraska, part of Nebraska Extension’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education, is a multi-state project formerly known as Cultivating Health Our Way.
The donation-garden projects in Columbus, Fremont, Grand Island, Kimball, Lincoln, Norfolk, North Platte, Scottsbluff, Sidney and South Sioux City connect local extension staff, master gardeners and local community organizations with the goal of increasing access to fresh, local produce for families and individuals who are food insecure.
Peachis Mason, service coordinator at Hope Harbor in Grand Island, has numerous stories of people excited to receive fresh produce.
“At Hope Harbor, we give out food boxes, where families can receive a box once every three months,” Mason said. “I have had families tell me they wait to come in to get their food boxes so they can have fresh produce from the donation garden.”
Since 2016, Growing Together Nebraska’s donation-garden projects have given close to 52,000 pounds of fresh produce to local food pantries, shelters, senior centers, faith-based community organizations, community health centers, after-school programs and summer feeding programs.
Nebraska Extension educators Natalie Sehi, with SNAP-Ed, and Terri James, statewide coordinator for the Nebraska Master Gardener Program, will work with project leaders from across the state to keep track of volunteers and the amount of produce donated in hopes of surpassing last year’s donations of 31,000 pounds.
To learn more, contact Sehi at firstname.lastname@example.org.