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Re: low-income urban garden training models

  • Subject: [cg] Re: low-income urban garden training models
  • From: Yvonne Savio ydsavio@ucdavis.edu
  • Date: Fri, 19 Dec 2003 11:08:34 -0800

Hi, All--
Especially Judy Tiger, Garden Resources of Washington, Washington, DC--regarding her 12/17 listing, "I'm looking for models of gardening training designed for urban innercity settings, especially for low-income low literacy learners, covering organic edible gardening as well as composting and basic ornamental garden design. I'm wondering if there are any urban master gardening programs designed this way or
other similar education series."

Our Master Gardener program serves ONLY low-income urban gardeners (see description I sent in re this issue several weeks ago).

We arrange 2-hour workshops on at community gardens and other venues (battered women and homeless shelters, community centers, etc). The two types of workshops are 1) Gardening Basics for Fall/Winter or Spring/Summer, and 2) Fresh From The Garden: Nutritious Vegetables, Simply Prepared. We encourage the group to schedule one workshop and then the other, and to have us come back the next season for the alternate garden topic specifics and another vegetable highlight. They're a great tie-in together, because sometimes gardeners grow a vegetable purely for the ornamental value (like multicolored swiss chard), and he/she'll then start eating it; or a cook will start growing a vegetable because he/she so enjoyed the several recipes (like beets).

The trick with these workshop presentations is connecting with the audience's senses--the hands-on, visual demonstration, verbal discussion, and 1) with gardening, the visit to the gardeners' individual plots, and 2) with cooks, the tastings.

In their training classes, MGs are given the seasonal gardening and nutritional/preparation writeups with expanded discussion topics and points to be sure to discuss.

We format our workshop presentations thusly:


1. 15 minutes--set up table display of
a. Program information--description of various programs, mission statement, helpline contact, website
b. Horticultural information--monthly/seasonal tips from our website, compost resources, seed/seedling planting guide, beneficial insects poster, "Trace Elements in Soil" article, and "Recycling 'Useless' Household Throwaways Into 'New' Garden Tools" from our website,
c. University of California publications--catalog and the 6 most-helpful books,
d. Community garden start-up guide from our website,
e. School-garden start-up guide from our website,
f. Our "Children's Gardens: A Field Guide for Teachers, Parents, and Volunteers",
g. Trays of seeds to sow at that season (some 150,000 packets are donated to us annually from seed companies specifically to distribute to low-income and school gardeners).

2. 15 minutes--MGs walk through the garden to observe what examples can be included in the topic discussions to follow

3. 40 minutes--Intro + 5 minute mini-presentations with examples from garden observation (phrase "bad" stuff as challenges and suggesting possible alternative approaches)
a. MGs welcome gardeners, express admiration of garden, and introduce program as resource and specific items on display table
b. Soil Preparation emphasizing health of the soil
c. Composting as the magic ingredient
d. Sowing seeds
e. Transplanting seedlings
f. Watering techniques emphasizing deep, infrequent watering to train roots to grow deeply
g. Pests--weeds, insects, diseases--monitoring and organic approaches
h. Harvesting encouraging experimentation of timing to determine personal choice of "perfect" moment

4. 30 minutes or more--informal walk around the garden with the gardeners, pointing out highlights from talks


1. 15 minutes--set up table display of
a. Program information--description of various programs, mission statement, helpline contact, website
b. Nutritional information--vegetables with most nutritive value like beets, leafy greens, etc
c. Recipes--booklet of favorites, and flyers on specific vegetable/group to be demonstrated that day
d. Trays of seeds to sow at that season

2. 60 minutes--Welcome gardeners, demonstrate several recipes while discussing nutrition basics, serve for individual tastings, reinforce everyone's surprise that that nutritious vegetable/group can be prepared so simply in so many delicious ways.

3. 15 minutes--discuss basics of growing the highlighted vegetable/group

Hope these points give you some great ideas how to develop your own! See our website for the materials mentioned. Or, email me and I'll send them to you as attachments. "Trace Elements" is not yet on the website.

Ciao for now.

Yvonne Savio
Common Ground Garden Program Manager
University of California Cooperative Extension in Los Angeles County
4800 E. Cesar Chavez Ave., Los Angeles 90022
Phone: 323-260-3407
Fax: 323-881-0067
Email: ydsavio@ucdavis.edu
Website: celosangeles.ucdavis.edu (click on "Common Ground Garden Program")
Master Gardener Email Gardening Helpline: mglosangeleshelpline@ucdavis.edu
Master Gardener Phone Gardening Helpline: 323-260-3238

Volunteers of the Common Ground Garden Program help low-income and limited-resource county residents to grow and eat more nutritious vegetables and fruits. Programs include Master Gardener volunteers (seasonal gardening presentations) and Fresh From The Garden volunteers (simple nutrition and food safety presentations). We work primarily with community gardens, school gardens, seniors, and homeless and battered women's shelters.

The American Community Gardening Association listserve is only one of ACGA's services to community gardeners. To learn more about the ACGA and to find out how to join, please go to http://www.communitygarden.org

To post an e-mail to the list: community_garden@mallorn.com

To subscribe, unsubscribe or change your subscription: https://secure.mallorn.com/mailman/listinfo/community_garden

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