AMES, Iowa - Growing Together Iowa and the Iowa Master Gardener Program, two Iowa State University Extension and Outreach complementary projects, have received $25,000 from Iowa Total Care, a wholly owned subsidiary of Centene Corporation, committed to helping people lead healthier lives. The donation will help to support training scholarships and a statewide community garden initiative that provides fresh produce to local food pantries.
The Iowa Master Gardener Program equips community members to use research-based horticulture and gardening practices to educate people and coordinate projects that promote healthy communities. Growing Together Iowa brings together food pantries and Master Gardener volunteers to create custom gardens. The fruit and vegetables grown and harvested from these gardens are then donated to local food pantries. Supplementary nutrition education materials, such as recipes, are distributed with the fresh produce at the pantries.
“This scholarship investment from Iowa Total Care will increase access to the Iowa Master Gardener Program, as well as the number of volunteers and the potential for growth in Growing Together Iowa gardens across the state. These scholarships will strengthen and diversify both programs by engaging community members who more fully represent the state's population and previously faced financial barriers to participation,” said Alicia Herzog, state Master Gardener coordinator.
“ISU Extension and Outreach and Iowa Total Care share the mission of reducing nutrition insecurity throughout Iowa. We applaud and support their important work in our communities,” said Mitch Wasden, plan president and CEO, Iowa Total Care.
Growing Together Iowa is a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education project funded by USDA’s SNAP and ISU Extension and Outreach. SNAP provides nutrition assistance to people with low income. SNAP-Ed initiatives, like Growing Together Iowa at Iowa State University, aim to make the healthy choice the easy choice for Iowans who participate in SNAP.
About Iowa Total Care
Iowa Total Care provides Medicaid healthcare coverage to eligible individuals in Iowa. Established in 2019, Iowa Total Care exists to improve the health of its members through focused, compassionate and coordinated care. Iowa Total Care is a wholly owned subsidiary of Centene Corporation, a leading healthcare enterprise.