Collaborating with Elected Officials

Jun 2, 2023

You might be surprised to learn that UC Master Gardener volunteers and public officials have a lot in common. UC Master Gardeners and public officials both strive to make a positive impact by empowering individuals, communities, and the environment. Both also engage their communities - just in different ways! This brief article will help you learn how to engage elected officials who shape budgets and policy decisions.

Former Speaker Tip O'Neill coined the phrase, “All politics is local.” So, I ask you ... do you know who your local and state representatives are? 

To find your local government official, visit or simply do a quick search online for your state legislators. Once you have identified your elected officials, I encourage you to get to know them by visiting their websites and social media accounts or attending community events they are hosting.

Engagement and connection in our communities are essential. To mobilize support for your local county UC Master Gardener Program, I encourage you to invite your elected officials to a workshop or event. Most elected officials have an e-mail address or directions on how to send an event invitation posted online. Policymakers might be interested in attending a hands-on gardening workshop around a cause they support (community well-being and health, food security, water conservation, protecting the environment, and many more) that allows them to mix and mingle with their constituents. If it is a well-attended event, you might offer the district office an opportunity to host a constituent services table. You provide a six-foot table and a couple of chairs, and the elected official sends staff to provide constituent services to the attendees. Remember to take photos to post on your social media accounts, thanking them for attending. Also, share those photos with the elected officials so they can post or share them on their social media pages.

Tweet screenshot of volunteer activity with food gardening.
Example Tweet thanking Senator for supporting the UC Master Gardener Program and its impactful work. Tag the public official, connect back to the mission and use compelling imagery.
Let's get recognized for your hard work and show gratitude to your UC Master Gardener volunteers. I encourage you to contact your elected officials to let them know of an outstanding project, such as working with an underserved audience, starting a new community garden, or honoring the service of an impactful UC Master Gardener volunteer. Building the public official's awareness of projects and volunteer impacts can often result in recognizing projects and volunteers with certificates. This creates a “win-win” scenario because you are building program awareness with the public official and thanking the volunteer simultaneously.

If you want to learn more about how to work with your public officials, please contact me at Remember, to grow a healthy garden, it takes time and energy. The same concept applies to growing program awareness with your public officials, it takes time and commitment to help them get to know you! 

Questions? Contact: 
Sheron Violini 
Associate Director of Government and Community Relations

By Sheron Violini
Author - Associate Director Government and Community Relations