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How Master Gardeners are Empowering the Minnesota Public

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{Guest post from Master Gardener and Extension Educator for the University of Minnesota’s – Master Gardener Volunteer Program, Jackie Froemming}

The Master Gardener Volunteer Program uses research-based horticulture knowledge and practices to inspire change and promote healthy people, communities, and environment.

Extension Educators have developed educational toolkits for volunteers to use in their communities to deliver this mission.

These toolkits have been developed around the program’s seven priorities: horticulture skills, plant biodiversity, pollinators, clean water, nearby nature, climate change, and local food.

Master Gardeners around the state attend workshops for the “Water Wisely”, “Flowers for Pollinators” and “Vegetables for Everyone” toolkits. After, they work within their communities to engage and educate as many residents – adults and kids – as possible.

The components of these toolkits (buttons, rack cards, brochures, interpretive signs, handouts, slides, etc.) help people make informed decisions about their gardening practices and understand how their choices affect the environment and public health.

How Master Gardeners are Empowering the Minnesota Public

Water Wisely

Water is a precious resource needed by all living things.

If you care for a yard or garden, you can help protect water resources by being wise about watering practices.

Much of our treated drinking water is used for landscape irrigation!

Although all plants need water to be healthy and grow, some—like lawns—actually need less water than we think, while others—like trees—need more.

Knowing the what, when, where and how of watering in your garden or landscape is key to growing healthy plants and conserving our precious water supply.

How Master Gardeners are Empowering the Minnesota Public

To learn how to design, plant and maintain a water-wisely landscape, contact your local Extension office to find out about classes taught in your area by certified University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardeners.

Flowers for Pollinators

Pollinators help plants that bring us food and other resources. By carrying pollen from one plant to another, pollinators fertilize plants and allow them to make fruit or seeds. Pollinator health is critical to our food system and the diversity of life.

Bees are one of the most well-known pollinators, but there are a variety of other pollinators including ants, flies, beetles, birds and more!

Each of us can contribute to pollinator-friendly environments.

To learn how to design, plant, maintain a pollinator-friendly garden, contact your local Extension office to find out about classes taught in your area by certified University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardeners.

How Master Gardeners are Empowering the Minnesota Public

Today, honey bees, wild bees, monarch butterflies and other pollinators are struggling.

The nectar and pollen in flowers are essential foods for them, but home landscapes often emphasize lawns and evergreen shrubs. This “green-only” approach is like a food desert for bees and butterflies. Pollinators need to find more nutritious and varied plants in our landscapes to thrive.

You can help by adding more flowers to your yard, creating a landscape that supports the health of pollinators, native plants, and our food system.

 University of Minnesota Extension
Pollinator Cafe sign from the University of Minnesota Extension

Show people how you’re making a difference by posting this sign next to your pollinator plants and help inspire others to plant nutritious flowers in their communities. This sign is available for free at the University of Minnesota Extension office HERE.

Vegetables for Everyone

There’s a growing popularity for growing vegetables, no matter where you live!

Growing your own vegetables is fun, provides better-tasting produce, and best of all – you know exactly where your vegetables came from. Plus, it’s easy if you follow the recommended practices!

Whatever your reason, grow a few veggies this year and start enjoying fresh produce.

To learn about easy-to-grow vegetables, contact your local Extension office to find out about classes taught in your area by certified University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardeners.

Based on their success, the Master Gardener program will continue to develop new toolkits for Master Gardener volunteers.

In 2019, volunteers will gain training and access to a “Nature Heals” toolkit, which highlights the benefits of plants and green spaces for health and well-being.

For more information about the Master Gardener Volunteer Program, including how to apply to become a certified member, please send an email to mgweb@umn.edu or call 612-625-9864.

Jackie Froemming is an Extension Educator for the University of Minnesota – Master Gardener Volunteer Program. As part of the State Leadership Team of the U of M Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Program, Jackie develops resources for the more than 2,400 Master Gardeners across the state. Jackie creates tools that Master Gardener groups use to convey public value and systems for marketing programs and supplies. Jackie’s work also includes building program capacity to reach diverse, underserved, and youth groups across the state of Minnesota.

For more information about the Master Gardener Volunteer Program, including how to apply to become a certified member, please send an email to mgweb@umn.edu or call 612-625-9864.

How Master Gardeners are Empowering the Minnesota Public

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