- Author: Rachel A. Surls
Cooperative Extension has a wonderful resource that I’d like people to be more aware of: our amazing Master Gardener Volunteers. We have more than 200 MG volunteers, as we call them.
The Master Gardener Program officially began in 1978. We maintained the program on and off over the years, depending on staffing and interest. By the early 1990s, however, our program in Los Angeles County was inactive. That is, until Yvonne Savio, coordinator extraordinaire joined our staff in 1995 and immediately restarted the program. It’s been going strong ever since.
Master Gardeners participate in extensive training then volunteer with us in a variety of ways, mostly focused on improving food access in low-income communities. Last year our Master Gardeners reached more than 87,000 people in Los Angeles County, working with community gardens, school gardens and answering calls on our Master Gardener Helpline.
The Helpline is a free service for Los Angeles County residents. Anyone can call or email the Helpline with their home gardening questions. The Master Gardener Helpline is available by phone at (323) 260-3238 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yvonne and the Master Gardeners have been featured in the media twice in the past week. The Los Angeles Times ran a story on Victory Gardens on January 10th, and included a mention of how our Master Gardeners have helped to promote food gardening around Los Angeles. The Times article discussed how interest in gardening is cyclical, and that when economic times are difficult, more people garden. For example, the article mentions that a major seed company experienced a 40% increase in its sale of vegetable and herb seeds in 2007. You can view the story at www.latimes.com/features/home/la-hm-victory10-2009jan10,0,7167635.story
Our Master Gardener program was also featured on Evan Kleiman’s “Good Food” Show on KCRW on January 10th. You can listen to the interview with Yvonne at www.kcrw.com/etc/programs/gf/gf090110australian_olive_oil
Learn more about our Los Angeles County Master Gardener Program at this link: celosangeles.ucdavis.edu/Common_Ground_Garden_Program//o:p>/o:p>/span>/o:p>/o:p>/o:p>/o:p>