AMES, Iowa – The COVID-19 pandemic has many Iowans thinking about ways to produce more of their own food, whether that be through gardening or backyard poultry.
“Coronavirus Victory Gardens,” named after the Victory Gardens grown during World War II, are sprouting up all over the United States.
Whether researching the right seed varieties for your garden or considering a backyard poultry flock, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach has resources that can help.
Here are a few useful links:
- Sow, Grow, Eat and Keep is a new weekly horticulture and food science “quickinar” series offering basic tips on gardening and food preservation from ISU Extension and Outreach.
- The Small Farm Sustainability program’s website offers a great collection of resources on all things small-farm, from webinars and podcasts to free print publications. The podcast is covering COVID-19 topics right now. E-courses include Getting Started with Backyard Chickens (free) and Introduction to High Tunnels ($25). Sign up for the Acreage Living newsletter to get timely, helpful information delivered right to your inbox every month.
- ISU Extension and Outreach’s Horticulture and Home Pest News website offers free resource downloads, news and podcasts on vegetables, fruits, controlling pests, composting and much more. The horticulture department’s HortLine experts can help you figure out why your tomato leaves are turning yellow, or what’s eating your cucumber vines. They can be reached at 515-294-3108 or email@example.com.
- Visit the ISU Extension Store for additional free resources on growing all types of fruits and vegetables, composting, rain gardens and much more. Click on the Yard and Garden tab on the home page.
How can you preserve the bounty after harvest? Find resources on safely canning, pickling and freezing produce, and even canning meat and game, on the Human Sciences Extension and Outreach Preserve the Taste of Summer page.
Do you have so much produce or livestock that you’re thinking about selling the surplus? Here’s a handy series of 11, two-page information sheets called Marketing Local Foods in Iowa. The sheets contain rules, regulations, certifications and licenses required to process and sell local food products to consumers, ranging from meat and eggs to fresh vegetables and pickles.
Do you love gardening and want to take it to the next level? Check out the Iowa Master Gardener program. Master Gardeners with the Growing Together project are growing vegetables to donate to local food pantries.
For additional food safety questions and answers, take a look at the ISU Extension and Outreach Food Safety program’s page for consumers.
Below are a few recent news releases from ISU Extension and Outreach. All news releases are available on the ISU Extension and Outreach news site, or view COVID-19 related releases only. You can also read and sign up for only the Agriculture and Natural Resources division's news.
- Gardening While Isolated: Starting Your Garden from Seeds. One of a series of Iowa PBS programs featuring Aaron Steil from Reiman Gardens and Cindy Haynes with ISU Horticulture Extension.
- Prepare Your Pantry, but Don’t Panic. Tips for stocking the pantry, without panic buying.
- Call Iowa Concern for Help Coping with the Stress of COVID-19. Social distancing, self-isolation, quarantine: the changes from COVID-19 can be hard to handle. Iowans can turn to Iowa Concern for help.
For more information, contact a member of the Food, Farm and Enterprise Development team at 515-294-3086, or contactFFED@iastate.edu.
Original photo: Planting a garden.