AMES – Twenty-nine county projects across Iowa will receive Growing Together Mini-Grants through Iowa State University Extension and Outreach’s SNAP-Education. This is the fifth year mini-grant funds have been made available to Master Gardener volunteers, resulting in more than 300,000 pounds of produce being donated in communities across the state.

The projects are focused on increasing food security and promoting healthy food access. Funding is made available through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education.

“Thanks to SNAP-Education funds, we are increasing the capacity of donation gardens,” said Susan DeBlieck, Master Gardener state coordinator with ISU Extension and Outreach. “Master Gardener volunteers are building strong partnerships to build community food security.”

To be eligible to receive a grant, applicants must be an active Iowa Master Gardener volunteer, have the support of their county ISU Extension and Outreach staff and have strong partnerships with community organizations that serve Iowans experiencing poverty.

County extension directors say the funds continue to make a positive impact on food accessibility in their communities.

In Dallas County, Master Gardeners grow produce for the Waukee Area Christian Services food bank.

“Everything grown in the garden goes to those in need in our county,” said Megan Will, Master Gardener coordinator with ISU Extension and Outreach in Dallas County. “The garden is a great way to get more fresh vegetables to those who need it.”

2020 county projects

Local projects awarded grants funded through the SNAP-Education program include:Dallas – Increase fruit and vegetable access at the Waukee Area Christian Food Pantry through maintaining and expanding the growing season at the Fruitful Vine donation garden.