Growing Together in Michigan

PeppersandTomatoes“Growing Together in Michigan” is an MSU Extension program that brings together Extension Master Gardeners (EMGs), MSU Extension Nutrition Instructors, and low income food sites (e.g., food pantries) in an effort to increase the amount of fresh produce available to Michigan residents who experience food insecurity. This program is now part of a Growing Together regional effort that reports on EMG donation efforts across many Midwestern states.

In 2019, MSU Extension implemented a pilot support program that provided $500 mini grants to EMG Donation Gardens in certain targeted regions of the state that have high levels of food insecurity (see below).

We encourage all MSU Extension Master Gardeners to grow and donate food.
Please watch this video to learn how you can help.

For more information on this program, please contact Dr. Sarah Rautio at

2019 Grant Program

Grants can be used to purchase food donation garden materials and supplies, including those that promote safe handling of produce. Grant recipients also have the opportunity to work side-by-side with an MSU Extension nutrition instructor, as well as provide gardening education themselves.  Review of applications began on May 1, 2019. At this time, all grants have been awarded. 

Mini grants are available for these areas:

  • Brightmoor District, Detroit
  • Greater Lansing Area
  • Northeast Lower Michigan
  • Northwest Lower Michigan
  • Rural Upper Peninsula

2019 Pilot Grant Program Guidelines: Click Here

2019 Pilot Grant Program Application: No Longer Available 










Educational Resources Available to Extension Master Gardeners

What is hunger like in Michigan?
How to locate a food pantry in your area
Top Ten Donation Vegetables to Grow
Ethnic Crops Resource
Garden Food Safety Practices
What is MSU Extension SNAP-Ed?
Smart Gardening Resources for Food Gardening
Food banks who distribute to pantries


Sharing Our Impacts

In 2018, MSU Extension Master Gardeners reported:

  • 71,884 pounds of donated produce
  • 12,948 volunteer hours in support of donation gardens, Plant a Row (PAR) gardens, and community gardens
  • 2,101 hours educating others in donation gardens 

In 2019, MSU Extension Master Gardeners can help us by:

  • Weighing all fresh produce donations (all fruit and vegetable types can be weighed together).
  • Tracking the number of EMG volunteers and hours devoted to growing and donating food, as well as time doing educational outreach.
  • Planning educational events in the garden (Contact MSU Extension Master Gardener staff for ideas).
  • Filling out the MSU Extension Food Donation Survey in the fall of 2019.



This is a multi-state effort in cooperation with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, University of Wisconsin Extension, Purdue Extension, University of Illinois Extension, and Nebraska Cooperative Extension Service. 


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