Friday, January 4, 2008

Become A UC Master Gardener

Columbia Park Community Garden Demonstration Area
Given that the deadline is almost here to apply to become a University of California Master Gardener here in LA, I thought I'd take this opportunity to explain how the UC Cooperative Extension Master Garden Program works.

First off, the UC Master Garden program is awesome (disclosure, I am a UC Master Gardener so I am biased). Here in LA, we do have a UC Extension Office that's part of the main UC Davis Ag. and Natural Resources Division.

Here in LA, our program, the UC Cooperative Extension Common Ground Garden Program, focuses on helping low-income residents become successful gardeners, and has been doing so for over 30 years and is run by the very wonderful Yvonne Savio.

According to our newest brochure: "The purpose of Cooperative Extension’s MG Program is to extend to the public UC research-based information on home horticulture, pest identification, landscape management, and other environmental and natural resource issues. The program provides volunteers with more than 78 hours of intense gardening and outreach training.

The curriculum covers vegetables, fruits, flowers, shrubs, trees, soils, composting, fertilizing, irrigating, pests and diseases, and tools—all based on organic methods and utilizing hands-on techniques.

Upon completion of the training program, volunteers must give back at least 50 hours of service within one year at local gardens or respond to gardening questions on the phone or email helplines. In addition, volunteers must earn at least another 15 hours of continuing education time."

That's basically it, you get UC research and training and become a better gardener in exchange for doing something good by helping others learn to grow their own food and become more successful gardeners. It's a win-win.

And, of course community and backyard gardens are a big part of urban agriculture, which I will talk about in more depth later. I just wanted to make sure you all knew the deadline to apply is January 15th, click here for more information:

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