Free seed program to benefit hurricane-impacted Puerto Rico

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People lined up Saturday at URI’s East Farm in Kingston to pick up their order of free seeds.

It’s an annual program in which URI Master Gardeners give out pounds and pounds of free flower, herb and vegetable seeds that have been donated by Ocean State Job Lot, and are free of charge to the community at large.

“We want people to grow their own vegetables, it’s a very inexpensive way to have your own garden,” said Mary Malouin, a URI Master Gardener since 1993.

Nonprofit organizations such as churches, schools and community groups can order the seeds, as well as individuals.

Sue Shanley from the Kent County YMCA was there and says the seeds she picks up will be used for their Healthy Kids Day being held in April.

“Kids are there to learn about good health, the environment, and learning from the ground up, and the free seeds certainly make that activity a no cost for us so that we can give it back to the community,” said Shanley.

Malouin said the free seed program has grown; last year they had seven hundred orders, this year they’re filling eighteen hundred orders.

Job Lot donated a total of 200,000 packets this year, and any leftover that aren’t picked up will be donated to residents of Puerto Rico still recovering from Hurricane Maria.

It’s part of a program called Roots and Shoots, in which they’ll be providing them with vegetable seeds such as tomatoes, beans and peas.

“They have a shortage of food there, and the seeds we send them, they can save their own seeds and keep growing in the future,” said Malouin.

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