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Extension supplies homegrown produce to elders living in public housing

August 5, 2020

Extension Master Gardeners and nutrition educators work together to supply homegrown produce to elders living in public housing

The bounty of summer harvest is here. Gardeners are known for freely sharing their abundance with others. Gifting is a big part of gardening. 

Wanting to deliver their produce to people who need it most, gardeners don't always know where to turn. SNAP-Ed educators work with Master Gardeners and coordinate the delivery of Gardens for Good produce bags to the most needy elders living in Minneapolis Public Housing highrises. Regional Extension coordinator Sharmyn Phipps says, “This program helps some of the most underserved seniors in public housing.”

Master Gardeners deliver the produce one time per week to the Little Kitchen Food Shelf. The produce is separated into bags for delivery to ten different sites across the Twin Cities. Two sites each week receive food bags throughout the season. As the season continues, the abundance will grow. Approximately 550 seniors will be served by the end of the season. 

The first drop was on Tuesday, Aug. 4 to Snelling Manor in Minneapolis. Some public housing buildings do not receive any senior meals or food assistance. Minneapolis Public Housing Authority helped identify facilities that have the least access to any type of delivered food assistance. Snelling Manor was one of those places. Residents received a small grocery bag containing over three pounds of food — a squash or two, several cucumbers, some large and small tomatoes, plus a mix of beets, carrots, okra, peppers, tomatillos, little pears, and collard greens. The property manager from the building was thrilled, “This is the first time we’ve ever received any food from the outside.”  

For more information about Gardens for Good partnership with Minneapolis Public Housing Authority contact Sharmyn Phipps phipp004@umn.edu

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