Seed to Supper gives novice gardeners confidence to grow food on a budget

Organic lettuce

Nearly 15% of Oregonians don't have reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food, according to the Oregon Food Bank.

To help people stretch their limited budgets, the Oregon State University Extension Service and the Oregon Food Bank launched the Seed to Supper program as a collaborative effort, with various local partners including Linn and Benton County Master Gardener volunteers. Seed to Supper is a free, comprehensive beginning gardening course that gives novice, adult gardeners the tools and confidence they need to successfully grow a portion of their own food on a limited budget. Spanish-language sessions and family classes are offered.

Participants learn about building healthy soil; planning, planting, and caring for their garden; and harvesting and using their bounty. At the conclusion of the training, participants are often offered seeds and pant starts to take home, start their own garden, put their new-found knowledge to work and start supplementing their food budgets.

In addition to the six weeks of training, Seed to Supper also can include workshops in late spring and summer in which participants get hands-on training. OSU Extension-trained Master Gardeners teach participants where to get free and reduced-cost soil, compost, seeds, starts, trellis materials, mulch, tools, garden space and OSU Extension gardening publications.

In 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Extension Master Gardeners launched Seed to Supper At Home, a four-part series featuring two-dozen videos and a free curriculum.