Coloradoans across the state are being encouraged to participate in Colorado State University Extension’s gardening initiative Grow & Give, a modern victory garden project designed for people to grow vegetable gardens and plant extra to share with local food banks and community members in need.
Victory gardens were planted on public and private land during World War I and World War II to reduce pressure on the public food supply. Roughly 40% of the U.S. vegetables grown in those years came from 20 million victory gardens.
Through the new Grow & Give program, CSU Extension is encouraging people to take advantage of their time at home during the COVID-19 pandemic to get outside and plant gardens, whether they are longtime gardeners or first-time planters.
“During a time when there is so much bad news and uncertainty, we are giving Coloradans a positive opportunity to contribute locally,” said Katie Dunker, statewide coordinator for the CSU Extension Master Gardener program. “We have wrapped our arms around something that is very tangible and accessible and are using university resources and expertise to promote growing food in every corner of the state to help those in need. This is what Extension does; this is who we are. Education and outreach are the very fabric of what a land-grant university does.”
How It Works
Individuals and community gardens are encouraged to Register Your Garden for the project. Whether you have a container garden on your patio or a multi-acre farm property or a small plot in an urban community garden, the type of garden does not matter, just the intention to grow and give. There are currently over 575 registered home and community gardens across 32 Colorado counties.
Grow Extra Food
Gardeners of all experience levels have expert help at their fingertips through CSU Extension offices and representatives in all 64 counties in Colorado. More than 1,400 Colorado Master Gardeners and Extension faculty and staff are ready and willing to help support the Grow & Give effort and to give advice on planting schedules, types of plants to grow based on the location and care of gardens through harvest.
Registered participants will also receive regular newsletter updates and resources for both growing and giving from your home or community garden. Gardening webinars and other extras will be emailed to registered participants.
A great starting point for new gardeners is the General Gardening Info page, and crop specific information under the Veggies A-Z and the Fruit Crops pages. Another good resource to help you start growing food for the Grow & Give program is the informational sheet on “Great Produce for Giving” on their website.
Donate and Report
The Grow & Give program is working with people across the state to identify locations to donate homegrown produce. Participants are encouraged to use the Interactive Donation Location Map as a starting place. More general information about how to donate produce can be found on the Giving Locally page.
There is no minimum donation requirement, rather the hope is for people to try and grow extra food and donate what they can locally. Participants can report even the smallest donations through the Grow & Give Reporting Form. Donation totals are posted throughout the growing season on the Grow & Give website.
About CSU Extension
Charged with serving all 64 counties across the state of Colorado, CSU Extension empowers Coloradoans to address important and emerging community issues using dynamic, science-based educational resources. The Colorado Master Gardener program is an extension program focused on enhancing Colorado communities through outreach, education and environmental stewardship.
About the Colorado Master Gardener Program
Master Gardeners enhance Colorado communities through outreach, education and environmental stewardship. Focused on home horticulture, Colorado Master Gardeners work to enhance Coloradans’ quality of life by extending knowledge-based education to local communities, helping individuals make informed decisions about plants and fostering successful gardeners while protecting neighborhood environments. The Colorado Master Gardener program is powered by Colorado State University Extension and is active in over 40 counties across the state with 1,400 CSU volunteers serving in their local communities.
Dr. Cheryl L. Bowker
Associate Director – STEM Center
Cheryl has worked at the STEM Center since 2013 and has evaluated and managed several STEM education projects. Cheryl enjoys impassioned discussions about research, education, and insects. Check out the Staff page for contact details.
Disclaimer: The thoughts, views, and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Colorado State University or the CSU STEM Center. The information contained in this post is provided as a public service with the understanding that Colorado State University makes no warranties, either expressed or implied, concerning the accuracy, completeness, reliability, or suitability of the information. Nor does Colorado State University warrant that the use of this information is free of any claims of copyright infringement. No endorsement of information, products, or resources mentioned in this post is intended, nor is criticism implied of products not mentioned. Outside links are provided for educational purposes, consistent with the CSU STEM Center mission. No warranty is made on the accuracy, objectivity or research base of the information in the links provided.
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