- Author: Lauren Snowden
I am thrilled to share the winners for the 2023 UC Master Gardener Search for Excellence competition. The exceptional projects that have risen to the top truly captivated the judges and inspired them with their innovation, engagement, and commitment to service. It is my pleasure to introduce you to the remarkable winners.
First Place- Riverside County, $1500 prize
Taking the coveted first-place position is the remarkable project from Riverside County - Soboba Cultural Garden: Connecting the Past with the Future. The project focuses on educating and assisting the establishment of successful and sustainable food gardens within Native American tribes. The Soboba Cultural Garden serves as a significant resource, providing nutritious food for the community and showcasing native plants and seasonal produce, all rooted in traditional tribal knowledge and promoting food sovereignty and wellness. The project has formed partnerships with various organizations and individuals, extending beyond the Soboba Cultural Resource Department. One of our judges enthusiastically remarked, “The Riverside MGs are modeling the very best in education - partnership, respect and hands-on teaching of quality material. Bravo!”
Congratulations to the passionate team behind this outstanding achievement!
Second Place-Placer County, $1000 prize
In second place, we have the incredible project from Placer County - Engagement+Education+Enthusiasm = School Garden Success! The project focuses on using school gardens as outdoor classrooms to provide science-based education, teaching students about planting, care, fresh vegetables, pollinators, soil, and photosynthesis. Their goals involve providing support for garden-related classes, establishing sustainable parent-led models, expanding to more schools serving low-income families, and building a community of partners focused on success. Well done to all those involved!
In the spirit of celebration, we have not one, but two exceptional projects sharing the third-place spotlight.
El Dorado County, $500 prize
First, we have El Dorado County's Cross Pollination, Growing Abilities: Cultivating Independence and Community in the Garden. This project's commitment to inclusivity and empowerment of individuals with special needs through gardening is truly commendable. The judges expressed overwhelmingly positive feedback, highlighting the UC Master Gardeners' unwavering commitment to fostering an inclusive and empowering environment where individuals of all abilities can thrive and acquire knowledge. Their dedication serves as an inspiration to others, showcasing the transformative impact of creating an inclusive learning space.
Sacramento County, $500 prize
Our second third-place winner is Sacramento County with their project titled Video Learning Reaches Larger Audiences. Through the power of technology and their dedication to community service, this project has effectively reached and inspired a wide audience, bringing the joys and benefits of gardening to even more individuals. The judges provided insightful comments, acknowledging the outstanding alignment of the project with its goals. They particularly appreciated the project's ability to simultaneously address external and internal objectives and commended the involvement of over 50 Master Gardeners in the creation of videos. The judges expressed gratitude for sharing the video production process through a clear and concise flow chart, recognizing it as a valuable contribution to the project's success.
To all the winners, a resounding congratulations! Your hard work, creativity, and unwavering passion have not gone unnoticed. You have inspired us all with your remarkable achievements. Stay tuned for more updates and inspiring stories as we delve into the winning projects. Let's celebrate the power of gardening and the remarkable individuals who make it all possible!
Thank you, judges
A heartfelt and special thank you goes out to our esteemed judges who generously devoted their time to reading, scoring, and learning about our program over the last four weeks. We are immensely grateful for your invaluable contributions, thank you for being an integral part of our journey towards excellence!