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Hartselle Enquirer

Alabama Public Television spotlights Grow More Give More project to fight hunger 

By Emery Tschetter  

For the Enquirer 

The Alabama Cooperative Extension System’s Grow More Give More project is getting prime-time recognition. Alabama Public Television’s next installment of its “Spotlight on Agriculture” series will highlight the project Feb. 24 at 9 p.m. 

Grow More Give More is a project through which home gardeners grow and donate fresh produce to help fight hunger and food insecurity in Alabama communities. Bethany O’Rear, an Alabama Extension regional agent in Birmingham, developed the project two years ago at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Bethany had the vision of addressing the need for a fresh, locally-grown supply of fruits and vegetables,” explained Mike Phillips, director of Alabama Extension at Auburn University. “The concern at the front of the pandemic was a scarcity of seed as well as locally-grown products. Grow More Give More has been tremendously successful in not only addressing the availability of locally-grown products but in engaging people of all ages in growing fresh produce, improving the diet for many.  

“The largest impact of this program has been addressing food insecurity,” he added. “One in four people in our geographic region are recognized as food insecure.” 

Home gardeners participating in Grow More Give More grow fresh fruits and vegetables through a broad range of home garden types. These gardens include anything from five-gallon buckets on a patio to large, tilled plots.  

The program includes experienced growers as well as novice gardeners.  

Throughout the season, these gardeners donate their garden’s bounty to local food banks and community centers throughout the state. 

Along the journey, Grow More Give More offers participants access to local Alabama Extension agents, as well as Master Gardener volunteers. These agents and volunteers help consult on issues such as integrated pest management, cool-season growing, attracting pollinators and more.  

Resources are also available through a Master Gardeners Helpline as well as a variety of online tutorials, videos and webinars. Participants also can consult with local garden centers that display the Grow More Give More logo. 

“As the 2022 garden season gets underway, we welcome all gardeners to join and help their local communities,” Phillips said. “Just call your county Extension office to get started.” 

For more information on this project, visit the Alabama Extension website at www.aces.edu. 

 

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