Posts Tagged: volunteers
Taking the classroom into the garden
School gardens can play a big part in supporting a child's education outside of the traditional classroom environment; offering hands-on learning experiences in a variety of core curricula. Social sciences, language arts, nutrition and math are just a few of the many subjects that can be easily integrated into the school garden curriculum.
When paired with nutrition education, school gardens can transform food attitudes and habits.
“Gardens containing fruits and vegetables can change attitudes about particular foods; there is a direct link between growing and eating more fruits and vegetables,” said Missy Gable, statewide director for the UC Master Gardener Program. “Programs statewide connect people to local community gardens, or provide school administrators and staff the information needed to get started with their own school, community or home garden.”
“Dig it, Grow it, Eat it”
The UC Master Gardener Program of Marin County hosts an award-winning school gardening program that emphasizes engaging students with the many learning opportunities in nature. The program is a portable field trip for school-age youth called “Dig it, Grow it, Eat it.”
“Dig it, Grow it, Eat it” starts with University-trained UC Master Gardener volunteers training school educators. Once trained, educators use the curriculum to teach students how to grow edible plants from seed to harvest. UC Master Gardener volunteers help deliver the curriculum and provide additional resources. Students learn how plants grow, and receive nutrition lessons to give them a better understanding of the human body's need for healthy food.
The half-day workshop rotates groups of students through six stations providing them with garden enhanced nutrition education, linking health with growing and harvesting foods they like to eat and are good for them. These include:
- Edible Plant Parts
- How Plants Grow
- Plant Seed Science
- Soil Science
The “Dig it, Grow it, Eat it” curriculum is centered on the theme “We love the earth because we care for it. We care for the earth because we love it.” For many children, getting their hands dirty in the garden and discovering the science of growing their own food brings a sense of joy and pride they can carry with them for years to come.
Connect with us
The UC Master Gardener Program extends to the public free UC research-based information about home horticulture and pest management. In exchange for the training and materials received from the University of California, UC Master Gardeners perform volunteer services in a myriad of venues. If you are interested in becoming a certified UC Master Gardener contact your local UC Cooperative Extension office or visit mg.ucanr.edu.
Betsy Knapp, a former social worker, always knew that she loved helping people. But the experience of becoming a UC CalFresh Master Education Extender revealed her passion for nutrition education.
The Master Education Extender Team (MEET) was designed to recruit volunteers in the community and train them to extend UC CalFresh family-centered nutrition education in the community.
MEET is growing rapidly. Just nine months old, MEET has six active extenders who have delivered nutrition education based on USDA's MyPlate guidelines at various targeted community events and within Fresno Unified School District schools.
We have received a great response from interested community members whose backgrounds vary from pre-med students to UC CalFresh nutrition education series graduates. Fifteen new extender trainees are registered for our next quarterly orientation.
“I believe that had I not volunteered with MEET, I never would have found this great job doing exactly what I love and was trained to do," Betsy said. "I don’t think people realize that MEET is a great opportunity for professional development. This program is needed in our community.”
To learn more about MEET or to complete an application to participate in the program, visit our website.