Free seeds available through Victory Gardens program

Ohio’s movement to promote urban and rural gardening is back and bigger than ever. The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) and Ohio State University Extension are partnering once again to encourage Ohioans to cultivate their own produce.

The popular Ohio Victory Gardens program is back for its fifth year and due to high demand, the program is expanding to include 64 counties. OSU Extension offices will be handing out the free seed sample kits to the public to get people planting. Specific days and times for each office are available on the Ohio Victory Gardens website, as well as planting resources and information.

“We want all Ohioans to experience the pride of growing their own food,” said Brian Baldridge, ODA Director. “Planting those seeds, watching that produce grow, and being able to provide those nutritious foods for your family is a wonderful opportunity to be involved in agriculture. We encourage all folks to plant their own victory garden.”

This year’s program will benefit up to 19,200 Ohioans. Each of the participating counties will receive 300 sample seed kits that contain carrot, cucumber, lettuce, and sunflower seeds.

“Our partnership with ODA on the Ohio Victory Garden program allows Ohioans to learn about agriculture and where their food comes from,” said Dr. Cathann A. Kress, vice president of agricultural administration and dean of The Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). “It provides a glimpse into the science and dedication involved by those who work in the food system every day to bring fresh produce into grocery stores, farmer’s markets, and restaurants.”

Extension’s educational outreach is enhanced by more than 3,200 Master Gardener Volunteers, who support the Ohio Victory Gardens program by providing gardening advice, helping with community gardens, and promoting local food production among their neighbors throughout the state. All Ohio Victory Gardens participants will be eligible to win a free starter gardening toolkit by completing a short online survey.

Victory Gardens originated during World War I as an answer to a severe food shortage at the time. The idea was wildly successful, growing an army of amateur gardeners and serving to boost morale and patriotism. ODA and OSU Extension revived the effort and are, once again, encouraging people to plant seeds, realize the fruits of their labor, and share their harvest with others if inspired.

This program is funded through a USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant. The Victory Gardens Program offers a full website at u.osu.edu/ohiovictorygardens/ with details on seed distribution, advice, and resources on every aspect of planting and harvesting produce.

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