Master Gardener Potlucks and Bake Sales

A question came up about food safety and food handling at Master Gardener events, such as a potluck of a bake sale.

After discussions with Jean Brandt (OSU Master Food Preservers), Lauren Gwin (OSU Small Farms), Jeff Choate (OSU Master Gardeners, Lane County), Patti Choate (OSU Risk), and local Departments of Health, we have a few guidelines that we can share.

  1. Public potlucks are not permissible. Master Gardener potlucks are permissible if the food is shared in good faith, by members of the Master Gardener group.
  2. Even in a closed, Master Gardener group, volunteers should adhere to best practices for food handling and food safety. Please consult OSU Resources on Food Safety, for more information.
  3. For bake sales, which are public events, Lauren Gwin’s recent publication on Oregon’s Home Baking Bill is an excellent resource.
    1. Home-baked goods should be labelled as such, so that people can make informed decisions about their purchase. An example sign can be found here.
    2. Bake sales should exclude home-baked goods that are potentially hazardous, from a food safety point of view.  Potentially hazardous foods include foods that require refrigeration or hot holding. Examples requiring refrigeration are cream cheese cakes, cream cheese pies. Baked goods cannot have milk or dairy in a filling, glazing, or frosting, because they also would require refrigeration (for example cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting).

Spring 2018 Gardener’s Pen Newsletter

April 2018 Gardener’s Pen Newsletter

Have you read the latest issue of the Gardener’s Pen? This publication is from the Oregon Master Gardener Association, in cooperation with OSU Extension Service.

This issue has information on the Growing Gardeners (G2) conference, OMGA Grants and Awards, and six tips to reduce your pesticide use.

Please make sure to share with your Master Gardener colleagues and friends.

A preview of the April 2018 Issue. Please click on the hyper-texted link at the top of this post, to access the full issue.

Guidance for Master Gardener Plant Sales

As we head into Master Gardener plant sale season, it is a good time to remind Master Gardener Associations of the requirements to host a Master Gardener Plant Sale.

1) Master Gardener Associations need to fill out and file the temporary nursery license with the ODA. This will provide the ODA an opportunity to contact plant sale organizers (if needed), for sales in areas of concern.

2) Master Gardener plant sales can not include sale or distribution of (click on the link for more details):

3) Best practices dictate that Master Gardeners DO NOT MOVE SOIL. If plant sale plants are coming from personal gardens, remove the soil, wash the roots, and repot in commercial potting mix. We recognize this may be inconvenient but there are several exotic horticulture pests (snake worm, European chafer ~ see page 18) that currently have limited distribution in Oregon, and that can be moved through soil.

The Master Gardener teaches sustainable gardening. Modeling best practices in invasive species prevention is part of our work.

Volunteer Injured? What to Do?

Over the years, we have had very few instances of volunteer injuries over the years. Due diligence when planning events and working in demonstration gardens can greatly help cut down on accidents and injuries. Due diligence includes:

  • Forming a safety committee, for Master Gardener demonstration gardens. The safety committee could write short articles for Master Gardener newsletters or host short learning opportunities in the the garden. Topics could include: safe tool use and storage, chemical use and storage, ergonomics.
  • Doing a safety and risk tour of all sites where programs will be held, such as for tours, public lectures, plant sales. Note potential safety hazards (irregular walkways, decks that have missing boards, etc.), and take corrective action (i.e. drop that site from the tour, cordon off areas where the public should not go, etc.).

In the instance where a volunteer has injured themselves while in the act of volunteering, their supervisor should complete the HR Advocate Public Incident Reporting form, which is available online at http://risk.oregonstate.edu/workerscomp/forms. This form is to be completed by the person supervising/coordinating the volunteer activities to identify what occurred.

In order for this reporting system to be used, the volunteer should have completed the forms required to serve as an OSU Volunteer. These include:

  • Conditions of Volunteer Service Form (must be filled out and signed, annually)
  • Master Gardener Position Description
  • Master Gardener Code of Conduct

More information on the volunteer process and links to the forms for volunteer service from an OSU Risk perspective, can be found online at http://risk.oregonstate.edu/insurance/volunteer.

You can access the required Master Gardener forms at: http://blogs.oregonstate.edu/mgcoordinators/forms/

EMG Volunteer Service Hour Requirements

I’ve been getting questions about volunteer service hour categories. Thus, I thought it might be useful to write a blog post about the difference between educational service hours (direct and indirect) and support hours.

Volunteer Service Hours which support the educational mission of the Extension Master Gardener Program are given highest priority.  Direct and indirect educational hours should constitute at least 50% of a Master Gardener’s  required volunteer service hours in their initial year and 50% of a Master Gardener’s required volunteer service hours in their recertification years (i.e. at least 10 hours).

What are Direct Educational Hours?

Master Gardener activities that have the potential to directly increase knowledge, change attitudes or change behaviors in ways that promote sustainable gardening.  A Master Gardener must be current on their certification, in order to participate in activities that qualify for direct educational hours.

    • Plant Clinic (no matter the venue):  plant clinic is the venue through which Master Gardeners receive gardening questions and provide high-quality recommendations to the general public.  Typical venues for plant clinic include:  the Extension office (walk-in, phone or email), Ask an Expert, farmer’s markets, Master Gardener events (e.g. plant sales, fairs), other community events.
    • Instructor (at a conference, seminar series, Master Gardener training, speakers bureau, etc.):  includes the time it takes to research, prepare and deliver the presentation.
    • Educational Gardens (demonstration gardens, youth garden, school garden, prison garden, garden tour): Teaching a class in an educational garden, leading a tour, preparing signage or educational displays, or other educational activities may count towards direct service hours.
    • Writing an Educational Article:  in a Master Gardener newsletter, for a local newsletter, or collaborating with an OSU Extension faculty member to write an Extension publication. Includes the time needed to research and write the article.
    • Other approved activities: as determined by your local Master Gardener coordination, in the context of current OSU Extension Master Gardener guidelines and policy

What are Indirect Education Hours?

Indirect educational hours is time spent on activities facilitate or support the efforts of volunteer educators.  The volunteer is not directly teaching others (via plant clinic recommendations or gardening talks or demonstrations), but is supporting the efforts of others who are serving as direct educators. Examples include:
    • Educational Event Planning (conference, seminar series, MG training)
    • Master Gardener Training Class Mentor:  assisting with the annual Master Gardener training course.
    • Educational Garden Maintenance:  Educational gardens require basic upkeep in maintenance, in order to be effectively used in educational outreach.  Thus, garden maintenance and upkeep activities might qualify for direct educational volunteer service hours if work in the garden supports an educational project or program, and if garden maintenance and upkeep activities are not the major focus of activity in the garden.  If garden maintenance and upkeep becomes the major focus of activity, it is time carefully examine the project, and re-calibrate back to the educational mission and focus of the Master Gardener Program.  If you do not host at least two public outreach events, annually, in the garden, it likely does not qualify as an educational garden. Volunteer service hours in gardens that are not educational gardens do not count as indirect educational hours.
    • Other Approved Activities:  as determined by your local Master Gardener coordination, in the context of current OSU Extension Master Gardener guidelines and policy

What are Support Hours?

These are hours spent on Master Gardener activities that are not focused on educational outreach. Instead, support activities help to support the mission of the OSU Extension Master Gardener Program. Examples of support activities include:

    • Fundraiser (plant sale, book sales, etc.)
    • Extension Office Support:  filing, database management, photocopies, or other duties related to the Extension office
    • MG Association:  including serving as an officer, board member or in an appointed position in a MG chapter or in the Oregon Master Gardener Association
    • Other Approved Activities:  as determined by your local Master Gardener coordination, in the context of current OSU Extension Master Gardener guidelines and policy