KINGSTON — The University of Rhode Island Cooperative Extension and its Master Gardener Program have teamed with the Ocean State Job Lot Charitable Foundation to give away more than a million packets of vegetable, flower and herb seeds to local schools, youth groups, community gardens and individuals.

The pandemic has forced the organizers to modify the distribution of the seeds in 2021 to reduce the risk to the volunteers who traditionally sort, pack and distribute the seeds.

Cooperative Extension worked with Job Lot to deliver entire pallets of seeds to large food-centered organizations that will make the seeds available to the public at farmers markets, libraries and directly from those organizations.

In November and December, thousands of seed packets were provided to Aquidneck Community Table, Farm Fresh RI, Hope’s Harvest RI and Southside Community Land Trust. Anyone interested in receiving free seeds should contact those organizations to find out how to obtain packets. To contact the organizations, visit

The Narragansett Indian Tribe also received bulk seed packets to distribute to its members. In addition, URI Master Gardeners will use some of the rescued seeds for educational purposes at school gardens and food donation plots helping to alleviate hunger in Rhode Island.

A free webinar will be held about seed-starting on Tuesday, Feb. 16 and March 2, at 7 p.m. The presentations will be available for later viewing on the Cooperative Extension’s YouTube channel. Those with specific questions about gardening and seed-starting can call 401-874-4836 or email

For more information or to register for the seminar, visit

— Sun staff

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