Chris Schulz Published

WVU Extension Program Sending Free Seeds To State Residents


West Virginia University (WVU) Extension is again sending free seeds to any West Virginian who fills out a short online survey.

The “Grow This: West Virginia Garden Challenge” is a project of the WVU Extension Family Nutrition Program that aims to teach West Virginians how to grow their own food.

Zack Harold is the program’s multimedia specialist. He said even though spring feels very far away, gardening season is just around the corner and now is the time to start planning.

“This is actually the time of year when you’ve got to start thinking about those things,” Harold said. “We’re kind of right on track. Come March, it’ll be time to start your carrots and your kale and get your pepper started indoors.”

Harold said the only two requirements to qualify for “Grow This” are to live in West Virginia and to fill out the program survey. He does caution participants to make sure they provide their full address to ensure the seeds are sent to the right places.

“The program is for everyone, but we’re hoping to create a whole new generation of gardeners who can grow their own food and serve their own community, serve their own household and fight food insecurity,” Harold said.

This year’s “Grow This” crops of purple carrots, miniature multi-colored bell peppers and red kale will bring extra color to home gardens.

“The more colors on your plate, the healthier it is,” Harold said. “And the crops that were grown this year are going to make for a really colorful plate for sure.”

Participants are also encouraged to take advantage of the Extension’s social media pages on Facebook and Instagram to share pictures of their crops and ask questions of experts.

WVU Extension Family Nutrition Program’s work is supported by the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program from the USDA Food and Nutrition Service.

Editor’s note: Zack Harold also works as a Folkways reporter for the Inside Appalachia Folkways Project.