Iowa 4-H Youth Development will launch Gardening to Give, a hands-on educational gardening program designed for all ages and abilities, on March 15. Registered participants receive educational resources monthly during this eight-month, immersive learning experience. This marks year two for Gardening to Give after the program reached over 1,000 individuals across Iowa and the United States in its first year.
“Gardening to Give will focus on encouraging all Iowans to grow gardens statewide to provide food for their families as well as local food pantries and food banks,” said Haley Jones, 4-H civic engagement and leadership specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.
Registration for the Gardening to Give program is now open. Registered participants will receive monthly gardening lessons and learning activities focused on a specific gardening topic, ranging from planting, weed control and pollinators to examples of how to share and donate harvested produce with others. The educational lessons are designed to provide applicable learning for small container gardens to large-scale backyard garden beds using seeds and plants that are accessible to the grower.
Participants are then encouraged to report their harvest and donation amounts through a texting service for the program. Individuals also will be able to share their gardening progress through photos and quotes via a digital platform throughout the program. Participants are encouraged to connect with their ISU Extension and Outreach county office to obtain additional horticultural information, connect with local experts and participate in local gardening workshops.
“Gardening to Give provides an extended learning opportunity for youth and adults alike to learn together and share their successes in the garden,” said Jones. “The great thing about this program is that participants can engage in this online learning opportunity when it’s most convenient for them.”
While this educational experience extends over an eight-month period, participants can register and choose to engage at any time in select portions of Gardening to Give or the entire learning experience. There is no cost involved to participate.
“Register now to get your hands dirty and pledge them to larger service by growing a garden with ISU Extension and Outreach and Iowa 4-H Youth Development,” Jones said. Visit the Gardening to Give webpage for more information.