Extension Gardening Team Download as PDF By The Numbers 62 publications produced in 5 years 1 web site developed 1 listserv created 1 blog administered 16 counties representing 60% of Washington’s population (2010 census) 2016 Issue
Anyone with an Internet connection and a computer can post gardening information. The problem is that much of it is anecdotal. In 2011, Washington State University (WSU) administrators identified a lack of current, relevant, and peer-reviewed information available to home gardeners. Due to earlier budget cuts, the number of statewide discipline experts writing such content had fallen sharply. At best, county-based … » More …
Community Gardening and Plant a Row for the Hungry
By The Numbers
In the first half of 2016:
80 Master Gardeners participated.
1,098 MG volunteer hours were donated.
$18,312 in grants and cash donations were obtained.
About 800 people participated in the Plant a Row for the Hungry program.
PAR distributed 12,000 seed packets and 4,000 transplants.
9 new projects were completed.
37 food gardens and about 550 food gardeners were mentored.
12 food gardening classes/events/presentations were held.
USDA indicates that food insecurity is a lack of “access to enough food for an active, healthy life,” with 1 in 7 Americans living in food insecure households. It is estimated that 16 million children in our country consistently face hunger or unhealthy diets that can impair their cognitive and physical development, as well as their academic achievement. This is not just a national problem; 12.6% of Benton County and 10.1% of Franklin County residents are food insecure.
In 2011, Americorps volunteer Nathan Finch worked with the WSU Extension Benton-Franklin Master Gardeners to provide coordination, leadership, and technical assistance to local community gardening efforts and to promote the Plant-A-Row Program (PAR) that encourages home gardeners to donate produce to local food banks. When Finch left the area, Master Gardener Bill Dixon took over leadership of the Food Gardening Team.
Since assuming leadership, Dixon annually has contacted local nurseries and garden centers to get donations of garden seed often disposed of at the end of the gardening season. He also has contacted local high school Future Farmers of America clubs to ask for donations of transplants left over after their plant sales.
With the support of Marianne Ophardt, Benton County WSU Extension director and Benton-Franklin Master Gardener program director, the Food Gardening Team has focused its efforts on helping those families most in need. This has included working with garden sponsors to build gardens in the lowest-income and highest-population density neighborhoods in the two counties. The team works with local cities, schools, service groups, and churches that already have community gardens or want to establish new ones. Team members provide information on community garden construction, organization, and management, plus mentor community gardeners throughout the area to help teach people how to garden.
Benton-Franklin Master Gardeners continue to make a difference in their communities. Starting in 2015, they launched the “Food Garden Drive” that raised nearly $13,000 through grants and corporate and individual donations to support food gardens for low-income and disadvantaged persons. Additionally, they received a United Way grant through Second Harvest for up to $20,000 over the next two years for the “Build A Bed to Feed A Family” Program to help build new food gardens for low-income and disadvantaged families (up to 100) or individuals (up to 400). » More …
10 elementary schools, 3 with multiple grades, attended the program
5 youth community groups participated
23% visited a farm for the 1st or 2nd time
81% increased their ability to make a difference by helping harvest food for the hungry
4,000+ pounds of carrots, squash, and cucumbers were harvested for distribution at the Clark County Food Bank
Washington State University Extension programs have promoted healthy living through a variety of delivery methods for individuals and families for more than 100 years. Today, health issues continue to be significant to youth and families in our state. In Washington, 24% of youth ages 10-17 and 27% of adults are overweight or obese (Department of Health, 2013). There is a strong need for people to identify the health benefits of increasing fruit and vegetable consumption and recognize the bigger picture of food systems. Putting food on the table is not only an experience that begins at the grocery store. It is important to understand that it grows locally and each person can be involved in its production and/or finding more of it locally. This is especially critical in urban settings where people are farther removed from the production of their own food. Teaching and showing youth where their food comes from and how it gets to their table can influence their desire to increase their local selection of produce for a healthy diet.
Agricultural literacy is an important way to encourage healthy eating behaviors through education about food systems. Pairing this with hands-on activities involving growing food increases the chances youth will make changes in their food choices.
In an effort to connect youth to local food access and help them understand where their food comes from, 4-H and Food $ense have worked together to develop the WSU Clark County Extension’s Farm to Fork Field Days. This field trip experience gives youth the opportunity to visit the Heritage Farm and learn about local food access.
In 2014, the WSU Clark County Extension faculty, staff, and volunteers worked together to pilot the Farm to Fork Field Day program. The goal was to increase the awareness and knowledge of agriculture and the role it plays in the lives of young people in Clark County. Through Farm to Fork, area youth from schools and community groups came to the Heritage Farm to learn more about how their food grows and gets to their tables at home.
Since the pilot project, Farm to Fork has been promoted in school classrooms and community youth programs encouraging youth to participate in hands-on farm experiences. Groups participate in farm- and food-topic-related workshop stations. The topics of these stations include: planting, weeding, and harvesting produce, worm composting, water resources, bees and pollination, uses of animals and animal byproducts, food systems, and other farm-based activities. » More …
Benton-Franklin Master Gardener Download as PDF Community Gardening and Plant a Row for the Hungry By The Numbers 521 Master Gardeners trained from 2012-2014. 30,893 Master Gardener hours logged from 2012-2014. 48,167 pounds of produce grown in the Plant-a-Row program from 2012-2014. 32 community gardens mentored from 2012-2015. 24 new gardens developed from 2012-2015. 332 raised beds built from 2012-2015. $1,750 in grants received from 2012-2015. $42,000 worth of in-kind donations of materials and services received from 2012-2015. 2015 Issue
USDA indicates that food insecurity is a lack of “access to enough food for … » More …
Biosolids and Compost Download as PDF By The Numbers Biosolids are applied to more than 15,000 acres of land each year in Washington, including about 8,000 acres annually in the Boulder Park project. Using a conservative average yield increase of 4 bushels per acre for biosolids, fertilized wheat, and a price of $6.50 per bushel, farmers using biosolids can earn an extra $26 per acre. This amounts to more than $200,000 annually for the Boulder Park project alone. Agronomic biosolids applications documented in long-term research plots increased soil organic carbon from 0.9% to 1.7% in … » More …
Master Gardener Download as PDF 2016 By The Numbers More than 53 tons of fresh produce donated to food banks from gardens with MG leadership. 3,330 certified Master Gardener volunteers. 505 new Master Gardener volunteers trained. 223,865 MG volunteer hours reported. 1,270 classes and hands-on demonstrations offered to the public by Master Gardener volunteers. Taught 15,351 first-time vegetable gardeners. Taught 3,420 residents to use Integrated Pest Management methods. Taught 5,886 residents how to conserve water and protect water quality. Taught 6,573 residents proper tree planting and maintenance practices. Vegetable gardening: food security, healthy choices, and … » More …