Discover CALS

See how our current work and research is bringing new thinking and new solutions to some of today's biggest challenges.

By Melissa Jo Hill
  • Cornell Cooperative Extension
  • School of Integrative Plant Science
  • Horticulture Section
  • Food
  • Vegetables
  • Plants
  • Horticulture
Cornell Cooperative Extension
Putting knowledge to work in pursuit of economic vitality, ecological sustainability and social well-being across New York state.

Over 2.9 million New Yorkers across the state — a third of whom are children — rely on food assistance programs. Even temporary food insecurity can be discouraging and disempowering for families — a hard lesson many learned during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. But a program from Cornell Garden Based Learning, administered through local Cornell Cooperative Extension Associations, is teaching New Yorkers how a little bit of space, a handful of seeds, and the right knowledge, make it possible to grow a portion of your own food  — even on a budget.

Seed to Supper is similar to Master Gardener Volunteers in many ways —both programs rely on Cornell research and best practices to optimize garden growth. But while the scope of the Master Gardener Volunteer program is broad, addressing gardens and lawns of various sizes and purposes, Seed to Supper is focused on growing food for home use.

Cornell Garden-Based Learning trains Seed to Supper volunteer educators to make a big impact and empowers them with knowledge and access to community partnerships. The volunteer educators impart both information and resources to help novice gardeners achieve early success. The structure of the program means that as gardeners grow in confidence, they also find a greater community to tap into, be part of, and perhaps later serve as garden mentors themselves.

Seed to Supper programs are currently available in Erie, Yates, Monroe, Suffolk, Madison, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Chemung, St. Lawrence, Tompkins, Delaware, and Schenectady Counties. 

To learn more about Seed to Supper or gardening education opportunities in your county, reach out to your local association.

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