Randolph County master gardeners helping address food insecurities

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RANDOLPH COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — Randolph County master gardeners have helped transform hidden corners of the county into vibrant flower and produce sanctuaries, but they are now helping tackle the county’s food insecurity issue.  

For families who struggle financially or have lived in rural parts of the county, it has become increasing difficult to get access to fresh food.  

In 2019, prior to the pandemic, a study found that it was among the top five concerns for families

As the pandemic hit, that problem become even more difficult as people lost their jobs.  

To provide fresh produce to those individuals, the county is making a push to encourage more people to volunteer.  

“They’re able to supplement what’s going into the soup kitchens, and the food boxes delivered…that’s very helpful,” explained Annie Mills, an agent with NC State Extension.  

Mills leads in-depth gardening courses through the county’s Cooperative Extension Group. The courses, which have already produced 40 master gardeners, teach people proper soil techniques and which crops would thrive best in their yard.

The 4-H program assembled seed boxes, and the Master Gardener Program helped put them together.

The Family and Consumer Science Program educates about how to jar that produce to make sure it can last a long time.  

Volunteers at the YMCA work with the horticulture program at Randolph County Extension office to provide a helping hand.

The growth of the course attendees has been good news for the county, but there will always been a need for more help.

You sign up to help at the YMCA’s garden here.

A report from the Piedmont-Triad Regional Council Food Assessment detailed that the county saw a large drop in farms in 2017.

That’s why the county, along with other county Cooperative Extension Groups, have passed out roughly 1,400 beginner gardening kits to children with more available through the Randolph County Cooperative Extension Group.  

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