Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources
Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources
Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources
University of California
Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources

News Stories

July 13, 2010
CONTACT: Dohee Kim, (323) 260-3880, deekim@ucdavis.edu

UC Cooperative Extension’s Yvonne Savio is Horticulturist of the Year 2010


Yvonne Savio, manager of the Urban Garden Program and Master Gardener coordinator for UC Cooperative Extension in Los Angeles County, is the recipient of the Southern California Horticultural Society’s distinguished award, Horticulturist of the Year 2010.

The award has been presented since the 1950s to individuals and organizations for significant achievement and leadership in horticulture and gardening.  The intent of this year’s award is to highlight Savio’s efforts in advancing gardening as well as transforming lives through the encouragement of gardening for low-income residents of Southern California. Savio will receive the award at the society’s award banquet Sept. 9, 2010, at the Huntington Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California.

“We are very proud of Yvonne’s work helping low-income residents of LA County grow their own food,” said Rachel Surls, UC Cooperative Extension county director. “Yvonne and her army of Master Gardener volunteers have helped thousands of Angelenos with limited resources become vegetable gardeners.”

Savio, who has been with UC Cooperative Extension in Los Angeles since 1994, is considered to be an expert in all things vegetable gardening in Los Angeles County. She revitalized the Master Gardener Volunteer Training Program in LA County, which is unique in California due to its mission to help low-income people grow their own food. Her volunteers, as well as numerous local residents, benefit from her seasonal gardening workshops and decades of experience.

In addition, Savio edited the third edition of “Children’s Gardens:  A Field Guide for Teachers, Parents and Volunteers,” the authority on how to start a children’s garden. Working with county residents, Savio oversees school and community garden programs in LA County, and recently, she has helped to spearhead a new and exciting gardening project, “Grow LA Victory Garden Initiative.”

Prior to UC Cooperative Extension in Los Angeles, Savio worked in the Botany and Vegetable Crops Cooperative Extension departments at UC Davis, and contributed weekly gardening columns, features and photographs to Northern California and national newspapers, magazines, journals and newsletters. She earned degrees in journalism, literature, art, photography and horticulture.

Currently, Savio lives in Pasadena with her husband, who is a travel writer and photographer. She loves growing vegetables, fruits, annuals and drought-tolerant perennials, cactus plants, succulents, bromeliads, ground covers and roses.

For more information on Cooperative Extension’s offerings in gardening and horticulture, see the LA County Common Ground Garden Program website.

As part of the University of California, Cooperative Extension was established in 1914 to connect local communities to their state’s land grant university.  An office in each county in California responds to the changing needs of its local populations, designing and carrying out research-based programs in the areas of food, health, agriculture, horticulture and the environment.

The Urban Garden Program, known locally as the Common Ground Garden Program, has been federally funded since 1976 to provide low-income residents of Los Angeles County with the skills they need to grow their own fresh vegetables.


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