By Andrew Bowman
About the Virginia Master Gardeners and Virginia Cooperative Extension
Virginia Master Gardeners are volunteer educators who work within their communities to encourage and promote environmentally sound horticulture practices through sustainable landscape management education and training. As an educational program of Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Master Gardeners bring the resources of Virginia’s land-grant universities, Virginia Tech and Virginia State University, to the people of the commonwealth.
Continuing on with what I began the last time about the Master Gardeners. With the latest word about restructuring the Virginia Cooperative Extension Service, the Master Gardeners are going to be providing a lot more services to the general population than it has been in the past, if everything goes according to the restructuring program.
What do Master Gardeners Do?
They come up with an annual plan of Work, which is then approved by the VCE. There are certain projects that are considered appropriate other than assisting individual homeowners.
There are a total of 5 major areas of Sustainable Landscape Management that MG's work under as in accordance with the Virginia Cooperative Extension Service.
SLM 1- Protect and enhance the environment through the use of sustainable landscape management practices.
SLM 2- Use Horticulture and Landscaping to change the attitude, behavior, knowledge, and skills of youth.
SLM 3- Use horticulture and landscaping to enhance community development and economic growth.
SLM 4- Produce food in private and community gardens to improve nutrition and food security.
SLM 5- Use horticulture to improve human health, well-being, and quality of life.
Impacts of the Master Gardeners.
1. Promotes and implements good land stewardship practices.
2. Actively engages youth and youth workers/leaders.
3. Emphasizes sustainable landscapes that provide economic return.
4. Provides an avenue for improved nutrition.
5. Contributes to higher quality of life.
This might not sound too good on paper to some of you and to others it will. If the communities all practice good horticulture skills and practices in their lawns, gardens and landscapes there will be a much healthier family, since it does require a little work outside where you get the benefits of exercise, sunshine and much needed time with families. So you can see by this that there will be an improvement.
More on the MG's in the next issue as to their value in the scheme of things.
Until next time, "just let it grow.”