NMSU’s Cooperative Extension Service efforts help with access to seeds, gardening guidance during public health emergency
LAS CRUCES – New Mexicans have the opportunity to plant seeds and grow a vegetable garden while staying home and social distancing, thanks to New Mexico State University’s Seed to Supper program.
Part of NMSU’s Cooperative Extension Service, the Seed to Supper program provides free seeds and gardening guidance to New Mexicans who register for the online course or who participate offline with a paper-based booklet on introductory gardening techniques. (The booklet is available in both English and Spanish.)
Seed to Supper is federally-funded by the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and was created by NMSU’s Ideas for Cooking & Nutrition (ICAN) program.
New Mexico Agriculture Secretary Jeff Witte said this is a perfect opportunity for families during the spring planting season.
“This program aims to support physical distancing and bolster New Mexicans’ access to healthy food during the COVID-19 health emergency,” said Witte. “It’s also an excellent educational opportunity for families to learn about agriculture in our state.”
New Mexicans who wish to participate in this free program can sign up at this link, or call 1-877-993-3637 during business hours to speak with someone or leave a message. Participants will receive:
- Four packets of vegetable seeds appropriate to their region of New Mexico. Options may include leafy greens, melons, root vegetables and squash.
- A “Quick tips” guide on how to start a vegetable garden at home (including guidance for families whose housing arrangements require container gardening).
“Now is the perfect time to learn to grow your own food, and we can help,” said Sally Cassady, ICAN Food Systems Specialist with the NMSU College of Agriculture, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. “Start with something simple, like growing lettuce in a container. Your confidence will grow along with your garden, and soon you’ll be enjoying your own harvest – in your own home.”
The majority of the program’s financial support comes from federal SNAP funds. For New Mexicans who wish to participate but are not eligible to participate in SNAP, booklets will be provided by NMSU’s Cooperative Extension Service.
“Part of the NMSU College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, the Cooperative Extension Service’s mission is to provide research-based information to improve New Mexicans’ lives,” said Dean Rolando Flores, Chief Administrative Officer at the College of ACES. “We are proud to offer this resource to help all New Mexicans during this pandemic.”
NMSU Extension offices are located in every county in the state. Visit the Extension website to locate the office in your county.