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Community Action Council seeks donations of gardening supplies, seeds

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The Community Action Planning Council of Jefferson County’s efforts to positively influence what goes onto the tables and into the mouths of its clients will culminate with a Grow with Community Action open house in May.

The real work begins now; the nonprofit is seeking to collect thousands of packets of seeds and donations of other gardening supplies — such as small potting spades, startup potting cups, bags of potting soil, gardening tools, gardening gloves and 5-gallon buckets — as part of its third annual Seeds & Needs campaign.

The program seeks to encourage low-income families to “make the most of their household budgets by growing their own fruits and vegetables,” according to a recent CAPC news release.

“A lot of people don’t realize that this is something you can do,” said Dawn M. Cole, CAPC deputy director. She said she thought participants were especially thankful last year for the educational piece from Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County.

As part of the program this spring, the extension’s network of master gardeners will educate families on how to care for their gardens.

Gardening supplies and seeds, including, but not limited to, tomatoes, peppers, onions, squashes, zucchini, watermelon, cantaloupe, pumpkins, lettuce, beets, cucumbers and herbs, will be collected through the spring.

The project receives some support from local businesses, and the Food Bank of Central New York and Cape Vincent Correctional Facility provide some tomato and green pepper starter plants in 5-gallon buckets for portable gardens. The correctional facility has a garden that inmates care for, and produce is sent to CAPC’s food pantry.

Last year, more than 3,000 packets of seeds and gardening materials were distributed to CAPC families, local schools and food pantries. Donations may be dropped off for the 2014 project to the nonprofit between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. daily.

For more information, call Mary Jane Mathewson at 782-4900, ext. 233.

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