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Austin Hy-Vee gets $1K grant for garden

An Austin gardening program is returning to the town it first started.

Austin Hy-Vee Inc. was recently awarded a $1,000 One Step Garden Grant as part of the Hy-Vee One Step program.

The $1,000 grants will be used to purchase seeds, plants, garden tools and food preservation equipment for community gardens. Hy-Vee gave a total of $156,000 in grants for One Step Community Gardens.

One Step Garden Grants are given to community gardens that teach those in need about health and nutrition through the process of planting, tending and harvesting their own fruits and vegetables.

Hy-Vee’s One Step program uses a portion of the proceeds from the sale of earth-friendly, everyday products to benefit local and worldwide charitable causes. The products include a 5-pound bag of russet potatoes, shredded wheat cereal, paper towels, facial tissue, bath tissue, napkins and bottled water.

Sales of One Step Russet Potatoes fund the One Step Garden Grants; for each bag a customer purchases, 5 cents goes toward funding the community garden grants.

“At Hy-Vee, we take pride in giving back to our communities,” said Brad Waller, Hy-Vee’s assistant vice president of community relations. “With health and wellness being a major emphasis of our business, we believe funding gardens is a great way to educate our communities about healthy eating and growing their own produce. These One Step Garden Grants allow us to strengthen our commitment to improving the lives of those in need.”

Community groups and organizations applied online for the grants, and their applications were judged based on demonstrated participation of community stakeholders; consideration of challenges that come with maintaining a community garden; the integration of the garden into the community; and intended use of the garden’s produce.

With this year’s recipients included, Hy-Vee has awarded 740 garden grants since 2013. Overall, the One Step program has donated more than $1.3 million in product sales since its inception in 2011.