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Community Outreach

Fresno/Madera County CalFresh Healthy Living, UC

CalFresh Healthy Living, UCANR teaches people eligible for SNAP about good nutrition, how to make their food dollars stretch further, and how to be physically active at any age. Effective, evidence based nutrition education and physical activity classes are aligned with policy, systems and evaluation change strategies to create long lasting community change in Fresno and Madera Counties.

Be part of the movement to build a healthy community and environment in Fresno!

Veterans Home of California- Fresno

CA Vet Gardening Gift Baskets 2020
Thank you for your service!  Master Gardener volunteers are back to visit and provide gardening support to our local CA Vet's Retirement Home. 

5 Secret Health Benefits of Gardening
  • Exposure to vitamin D. Vitamin D increases your calcium levels, which benefits your bones and immune system. ...
  • Decreased dementia risk. A 2006 study found that gardening could lower risk of dementia by 36 percent. ...
  • Mood-boosting benefits. ...
  • Enjoyable aerobic exercise. ...
  • Helps combat loneliness.
  • Make time to get outside and garden this week!
The Yosemite Village Permaculture Garden and Urban Farm

Yo Village start
A educational garden and small farm incubator located in South West Fresno. Started from bare ground on October 5, 2019 with help from the Fresno Master Gardeners and community volunteers.
The garden is thriving with garden plots adopted by locate residents.

For more information about Fresno Metro Ministry click here

Valley Children’s Hospital Rehab Therapy Garden!

VC garden beds
Located on the shady, eastern end of Valley Children’s Hospital, a featureless strip of mostly grass and concrete, that was mostly ignored by staff and visitors, caught my imagination. There were unused raised metal sand play boxes in the space, with good drainage and a nearby water source, which I thought would make them ideal for some form of plant life, once soil could be added and mixed with the sand.

As a Master Gardener and Occupational Therapist, I was aware of the therapeutic benefits of horticulture and outdoor activity, so I set about turning the space into a resource for the Rehabilitation (Rehab) unit of the hospital, which happened to be only a few hundred feet from the proposed therapy garden.

With the assistance of interested staff members, some of the Physical Rehabilitation patients, volunteers from Fresno State Horticulture Department, Home Depot and an Eagle Scout candidate, a plan was drawn up and a therapy garden designed.

Using donated top soil, paving slabs and lumber, the space was transformed. The design included raised herb beds, a wheelchair accessible path, shade tolerant plants, some fruit trees and a succulent garden planted to look like a miniature landscape, with spaces for fairy houses and other fun play accessories. The space inherited some concrete seats and picnic tables, a tool storage box and "hey presto",  the space was transformed into the Rehab Therapy Garden!

VC garden more
Now the therapists from the hospital, Occupational, Physical, Speech and Recreation, can take their patients out of doors for therapy sessions. A child can walk or wheelchair-push the short distance to the garden and use the space to play, water, dig, plant, pick herbs or flowers, or just talk about aspects of the garden.

It has become a feature of the east end of the building, with staff and parents often sitting on the benches to enjoy the shade, as well as admire the fairy landscape which changes frequently when patients come to play.

Of course, like any garden, the space has needed occasional sprucing up and as a Master Gardener, my role has been to provide guidance for pruning, planting of replacement plants, (using the ‘right plant, right place’ principle), as well as coordinate seasonal volunteer clean up sessions and provide instruction on therapeutic uses of the garden to Rehab staff. The care of the garden is IPM oriented, which fits with it’s role as a place safe for children to interact with nature.