AMES, Iowa – The cucumber is in the spotlight for this year’s edition of the Iowa Farm to Summer Campaign, supported by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.
This crunchy, healthy, easy to grow vegetable is being featured through “Crunch into Cucumbers,” a statewide effort to promote summer meal sites by celebrating local cucumbers as “the coolest vegetable of the summer.”
This is the third year for the Iowa Farm to Summer campaign, which provides an opportunity for summer meal site sponsors, community partners, local food advocates, farmers, volunteers, teachers and others to support farm to summer food access and availability.
The Iowa Farm to School and Early Care partners are offering technical assistance, promotional materials and funding to help Iowa’s summer meal sites thrive.
Mini-grants valued at $200 are available for up to 30 participants, and are used for purchasing local vegetables, according to Chelsea Krist, Iowa Farm to School coordinator with the Food, Farm and Enterprise Development team at ISU Extension and Outreach. The funds are used for purchasing local vegetables for the meal sites.
The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the interest in summer meal sites, according to Krist, and the cucumber is an early-growing, low cost vegetable that can help meet local food needs.
“The opportunity and the need is greater in a lot of places this year,” she said.
Other partners in the project include the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, the Iowa Department of Education and FoodCorps Iowa.
The deadline to apply for the grants is May 20. For more information, including promotional materials for meal sites, contact Krist at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 563-940-5146.