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News

Get growing and help increase food security in your community

Gardeners may donate excess produce through the CSU Extension Grow & Give program

Posted on June 2, 2021 2021

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Veggies from the garden
Information provided by CSU Extension

After a colder and wetter spring than normal, backyard gardeners across Colorado are planting, tending, and preparing to harvest for the second season of Grow & Give, a program whose volunteers raise and donate fresh fruits and vegetables for statewide distribution to people in need.

Grow & Give is a project of the Colorado Master Gardener Program, a well-known part of CSU Extension. Volunteer participation is open to any Colorado gardener.

The project sprouted in Spring 2020 in response to skyrocketing food needs among people coping with unemployment and other hardships during the COVID-19 pandemic. The project is modeled on backyard victory gardens that boosted food supplies and morale during the bleak years of World War I and World War II. It was so successful in its first season that Grow & Give is back, with a broader goal of boosting food security in Colorado communities over the long term.

Last year, nearly 600 volunteer gardeners signed up, 32 from Douglas County. In Douglas County alone, gardeners grew and donated more than 3,700 pounds of produce while across the state gardeners in 25 counties contributed more than 47,000 pounds. The fresh fruits and vegetables went to food banks, pantries, homeless shelters, and other nonprofits for distribution to individuals and families facing hunger and food shortages.

The number of participants and food donations is expected to expand in the second year of Grow & Give. Already in 2021, 62 gardeners in Douglas County have signed up and have begun to donate early-season produce like leafy greens and radishes.

To support backyard gardeners, the Colorado Master Gardener Program has a few new offerings, including:

For more information, gardening resources and to volunteer with Grow & Give, visit growandgivecolorado.org. Learn more about CSU Extension and the Master Gardener Program in Douglas County.

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