By Kentucky Department of Agriculture
Agriculture Commissioner Dr. Ryan Quarles has announced a new Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) partnership with the University of Kentucky’s (UK) Cooperative Extension Service and Kentucky’s Nutrition Education Program (KYNEP) to encourage Kentuckians to get in touch with their agricultural roots during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Since starting the Kentucky Hunger Initiative years ago, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture has kicked around the idea of a new agricultural education effort to encourage Kentuckians to grow their own victory gardens,” said Commissioner Quarles. “Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, people have reached out to the KDA in droves seeking to learn how they can grow their own food. A partnership with the University of Kentucky is a natural fit for educating Kentucky families about how they can grow their own food. I hope Kentuckians — whether they be urban or rural — will get their hands dirty learning the basics about agriculture through a garden.”
The Kentucky Victory Garden effort comes during the coronavirus pandemic, a time in which Americans and Kentuckians of all stripes are coming together to not only support local agriculture but also have an increased interest in growing their own food while they are staying at home and practicing social distancing. UK’s Cooperative Extension Service, which has offices in all of Kentucky’s 120 counties, will distribute a Kentucky Victory Garden toolkit developed by KYNEP.
“The UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment is grateful for this partnership with KDA, which will allow us to serve more citizens,” said Dr. Nancy Cox, dean of UK’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. “This project builds on the successful and dedicated efforts of Family and Consumer Science programs to offer nutrition advice for Kentucky families. We know that the food dollar has never been more stretched, so this collaboration is so important. We thank Commissioner Quarles for his confidence in the Kentucky Cooperative Extensions Service.”
The toolkit includes a Growing Your Own Victory Garden poster, as well as a garden calendar for 2020, tips on home gardening, and recipe cards on how to properly wash and prepare fruits and vegetables grown in a Kentucky victory garden.
“UK’s Nutrition Education Program is thrilled to launch this effort with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and Commissioner Quarles,” said Dr. Jennifer Hunter, Assistant Director of UK’s Family Consumer Sciences Division. “Through the use of a social media campaign, we hope to showcase gardens Kentucky families plant this season. With the cold temperatures from this weekend behind us, it’s the perfect time to get started with your own victory garden.”
To learn more about the Kentucky Victory Garden campaign, download the toolkit and a high-resolution version of the poster, please visit https://www.planeatmove.com/get-moving/growing-your-own-garden.
The University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment was founded as, and remains a land-grant institution, committed to improving the quality of life for Kentuckians. Our research, teaching, and extension programs are part of a national system that maintains a statewide presence and links local, state, and global issues. Agriculture, food, and environmental systems are key components of Kentucky’s economic future, and the college is playing a prominent role in those areas with its programs.
The Kentucky Nutrition Education Program (KYNEP) encompasses two separate USDA programs: The Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Both programs are administered by the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service in order to show limited resource families with young children and SNAP eligible individuals how to plan nutritious meals on a limited budget, acquire safe food handling practices, improve food preparation skills, and change behavior necessary to have a healthy lifestyle.