Extension gardening course fosters self-sufficiency

Participants in the Seed to Supper classes improve their diets with fresh vegetables. (Photo: Hannah O'Leary)

Seed to Supper program stretches limited food budgets

Unemployment and the increasing cost of living are forcing more Oregonians to seek food assistance. In 2017, the Oregon Food Bank distributed 97.9 million pounds of food.

To help people stretch their limited budgets, the OSU Extension Service and the Oregon Food Bank launched the Seed to Supper program, a free, six-week gardening course in English and Spanish that enables novice gardeners to affordably grow some of their own food. Extension-trained Master Gardeners teach participants where to get free and reduced-cost soil, compost, seeds, starts, trellis materials, mulch, tools, garden space and OSU Extension gardening publications.

More than 310 trainings attended by over 5,500 participants have taken place since 2013. The program is offered in 21 counties in Oregon and in Clark County in Washington. Five additional states are working with OSU Extension and the Food Bank to offer the classes.

Seed to Supper Garden Ambassadors are working on culturally specific garden education workshops in Multnomah County for 2018, with classes offered for Ethiopian, Ukrainian/Russian and Congolese communities.

"This class has inspired me to garden more. It broadened what I felt I could grow. It will greatly improve our diet and the variety of foods available, as my husband is retired and I am unemployed," said one Seed to Supper participant.

Source: Devin Dinihanian, statewide garden education coordinator, Oregon Food Bank


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