REYNOLDSBURG – It’s time once again to get your hands dirty and start growing! The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) and Ohio State University Extension offices are kicking off the third year of the Ohio Victory Gardens program. Due to high demand, the program is expanding to include 42 counties, up from 25 counties last year. Thousands of seed sample kits will be available for free to the public to get people planting.

“In the third year of our Victory Gardens program, we are proud of the ground we have covered in reigniting Ohioans’ love for backyard gardening, while lifting people’s spirits and re-teaching an important life skill of growing your own food,” said Dorothy Pelanda, Director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture. “We’ve gone from distributing 3,000 seed kits in six counties in 2020 to distributing more than 20,000 free seed kits in 42 counties across the state this year.”

“Whether it’s growing a large backyard garden, a few potted plants on a kitchen windowsill, or a smaller container garden on your porch, the Ohio Victory Gardens program has something to offer everyone,” said Cathann A. Kress, Ohio State’s vice president for agricultural administration and dean of The Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). “We are excited to partner again with the Ohio Department of Agriculture to enrich Ohioans’ appreciation for growing food for their households.”

OSU Extension is the community-based outreach arm of CFAES, with programming that addresses agriculture and natural resources, community development, family and consumer sciences, and 4-H youth development.

“We are thrilled to once again be part of the Ohio Victory Gardens program and help many of the citizens we reach become enthusiastic growers of their own food,” said Jackie Kirby Wilkins, associate dean in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, and director, OSU Extension. “Each year, we reach more than 2.5 million learners throughout Ohio.”

Extension’s educational outreach is enhanced by more than 3,200 Master Gardener Volunteers, who support the Ohio Victory Gardens program by providing gardening advice, helping with community gardens, and promoting local food production among their neighbors throughout the state.

Seeds will be available to pick up while supplies last at OSU Extension – Morrow County 5362 U.S. HWY 42 Mt. Gilead Monday – Friday 8:00 – Noon and 1:00 – 4:30.