[UPDATE 01/04/2023: Due to overwhelming demand, the sign-up survey is now closed. More information.]
West Virginia University Extension is again sending free seeds to any West Virginian who fills out a short online survey.
The seeds are available through the Grow This: West Virginia Garden Challenge, a project of the WVU Extension Family Nutrition Program that aims to teach West Virginians how to grow their own food.
“With the high cost of food right now, people can really benefit from learning how to grow their own food,” said Kristin McCartney, WVU Extension assistant professor and public health specialist. “Making sure that people have those skills — and can pass them on to the next generation — is essential for our communities to achieve long-term food security.”
This year’s Grow This crops will add an extra splash of color to home gardens: purple carrots, miniature multi-colored bell peppers and red kale.
Seeds are expected to arrive in mid-April.
Participants stay connected throughout the growing season on the Grow This Facebook page, which features helpful information from WVU Extension gardening and canning experts as well as competitions and giveaways.
The Grow This: West Virginia Garden Challenge enters its sixth year in 2023. The challenge started small in 2018, sending out just a few hundred seeds. Interest in the program exploded in 2020, as COVID lockdowns had many stuck at home and looking for a new hobby. In 2022, Grow This seeds and gardening instruction reached over 100,000 West Virginians. Around 40% of participants were first time gardeners.
“Gardening can seem like a daunting task to people who have never done it before,” McCartney said. “With Grow This, our goal is to start small with a few crops and let people build confidence from there. At the same time, we connect them with a statewide virtual community to cheer them on and offer support.”
WVU Extension Family Nutrition Program’s work is supported by the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program from the USDA Food and Nutrition Service.
WVU Extension Family Nutrition Program