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Gardening Community Responds To Growing COVID-19 Food Need

Bagged startup gardening kits, called Grab and Grow Gardens, await distributi...

Photo by Bennett Lacy

Above: Bagged startup gardening kits, called Grab and Grow Gardens, await distribution at Kitchens for Good in Chollas View.

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The University of California Master Gardener Program in San Diego County has launched an online tool to answer gardening questions. Sommer Cartier, one of the program’s master gardeners, joined Midday Edition to give us a glimpse into what the program hopes people take away from it.

Aired: April 29, 2020 | Transcript

Three days a week, cars line up by the dozens at Kitchens for Good at the Jacobs Center in Chollas View.

Drivers open their trunks to receive prepared meals and produce.

This is just one of many distribution events in high demand amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

RELATED: Thousands Line Up For Food, As More San Diegans Lose Their Paychecks Due To Coronavirus

In recent weeks, families have also received a paper bag filled with all the ingredients needed to start their own miniature garden.

“We have created grab and grow gardens,” said Nan Sterman, who KPBS viewers might know best as the host of A Growing Passion. The local journalist and activist hopes the packages will sprout a new generation of gardeners.

“There are two seedlings in a paper bag with directions on how to grow your own fruits and vegetables in English and Spanish.”

Kitchens for Good is one of four distribution sites for grab and grow gardens.

Reported by Ben Lacy , Video by Matthew Bowler

RELATED: San Diego Culinary Program Takes On Hunger, Waste And Barriers To Employment

Sterman says the others are Olivewood Garden, Jewish Family Services, and the Botanical Community Development Initiative. Sterman relies on a network of donors to provide materials for the garden.

She’s also working with Mim Michelove, the CEO and President of Healthy Day Partners, who calls the project a labor of love.

Photo by Bennett Lacy

Nan Sterman shows the daily supply of Grab and Grow Gardens ready for distribution. She and a network of donors provide the gardening kits as a supplement to food distributions amid the COVID-19 pandemic in San Diego.

“Right now we’re working out of my backyard and my living room and it takes quite a few hours to put together even the 130 or 150 gardens that we brought here today,” Michelove said.

The grab and grow gardens are an idea that emerged as a result of COVID-19.

Sterman says there are plans to continue the project through June, and in some form beyond the pandemic.

“An activity to do with their children, to introduce children to growing and feeding themselves, there’s a satisfaction to that, that is, it’s very hard to put into words,” Sterman said.

Listen to this story by Bennett Lacy.

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