August 2018 Statewide MG Program Update and Helpful Hints

Developing Best Management Practices for Master Gardener Plant Sales

The Master Gardener Best management practices task force met via conference call, last week. Our task force include Master Gardener volunteers who coordinate their Master Gardener Association plant sale, and have also operated a commercial nursery. The task force also includes the Oregon Department of Agriculture’s invasive species response coordinator, myself (as statewide Master Gardener Program coordinator), and Brooke Edmunds (as county MG faculty). Prior to working for OSU, Brooke worked with the Oregon Department Plant Health group, where part of her work involved certification of nursery plants. Thus, we have a lot of expertise in the group.

We will soon be surveying plant sale coordinators, to find out:

  • do you apply for an ODA temporary nursery license?
  • where do you get your plants for MG plant sales?
  • how and where are they propagated?
  • what are your concerns regarding changes to plant sale guidelines?

The goal of the survey is to get a general sense of what Master Gardener Associations are currently doing, to identify key areas of risk for invasive species introduction, and to provide guidance on how to transition to lower risk activities. Please keep an eye out for the survey, and share with your plant sale coordinators, when available.

We are also developing a draft list of best management practices for Master Gardener Plant sales, in cooperation with our Extension colleagues, volunteers, and nursery industry professionals. In the next 4-6 weeks, we expect to share this list of practices, as well as case studies of Master Gardener Associations that have successfully transitioned from higher risk to lower risk plant sale activities.

Please stay tuned!

Food Safety for Master Gardener Tasting Events (i.e. Tomato Tasting)

A question recently came in about how to approach an event such as a tomato tasting, to ensure safe food handling and food safety. I consulted with Jeanne Brandt, statewide coordinator of the OSU Extension Master Food Preserver Program, to get her feedback. Below is her response (edited for brevity).

My understanding is that sharing samples is part of educational programming, not food service, so that site or event licenses and food handler’s permits are not required.  Those come into play when any products are sold.  Providing samples for educational purposes is included in liability coverage offered by OSU, as long as best practices are used to prepare them. We put out a sign that says  “Products made/prepared by volunteers in our classroom or home kitchens.”  This makes booth visitors aware of where the products came from and that they are not commercial, so they can choose to sample or not.  

This resource has guidance for handling produce samples at public events:

https://www.fcs.uga.edu/docs/13_Keeping_Food_Safe_at_Market.pdf

Page 3 has some good guidelines for preparing samples.

Best practices are good hygiene, clean produce, and protection from contamination by the customers. That’s not as easy as it sounds,  since we are often places without handwashing stations.  Setting up individual samples so that customers can’t handle more than their own sample is ideal. 

Clients with Biting Bug Infestations, Without an Apparent Cause

Every now and then, a client comes into the Extension office, wanting advice for how to deal with insects that are biting them, or that have infested their house. After some conversation, or time to examine the sample that the client has brought into the office, you may determine that the client might be feeling a sensation on their skin, but that it is not due to an insect or mite issue. How do you help these clients? The cases are often heartbreaking: a client desperate for relief, with no apparent cause or solution in sight. Colleagues in extension published an excellent article on this topic, a few years ago, that includes a long list of recommendations for working with clients who believe their body and/or environment is infested with insects or mites, despite evidence to the contrary. Please read, and share with your Master Gardener volunteers, as needed.

Kerr et al. 2014. Recommendations for extension professionals and volunteers regarding individuals with delusional infestation. Journal of the NACAA 7(2).

Best Practices in MG Plant Sales

Master Gardener plant sales are a major fundraiser for many Master Gardener Associations. However, recent Oregon Department of Agriculture quarantines and restrictions to the movement of plants and soils in Washington County, Oregon have affected some Master Gardener plant sales and have highlighted the role that plants sales may play in promoting invasive species introductions.

In fact, a recent news story reported on the role of a Coos County plant sale in introducing an invasive weed from India. Other news reports show that the sale of invasive plants, or that the introduction of invasive species via plant sales, is neither unique nor isolated (e.g. ‘Invasive species for sale in Kootenay region’).

And, plant trades between gardens are also potential venues for the movement of native plants. In fact, research conducted in the United Kingdom estimates that ~2 million seeds are moved via the movement of garden soils and soils for new housing developments. Further, the researchers found that the risk of introducing invasive plants was far greater from the movement of garden soils, than other soil types.

Over the next year, a task force will work to develop best practices for Master Gardener plant sales, in order to prevent the introduction and spread of invasive species in Oregon. The task force includes two Master Gardeners, two Master Gardener faculty, and an advisor from the Oregon Department of Agriculture. As we develop specific recommendations, we will post them for feedback and critique. Stay tuned!

 

 

How Long Should OSU Retain Volunteer Records

Hi Folks,

Lincoln County is cleaning up files, and wanted to know how long volunteer records should be retained. When I looked up the rule on the Oregon Secretary of State Website, I noticed that the length of record retention has DECREASED. In the past, it was 7 years for individual records and 9 years for program records. Now, you only have to retain individual records and program records for 5 years.

I have copied relevant text, below.

(20) Volunteer Program Records Records document the activities and administration of volunteer programs in an agency. Records may include but are not limited to volunteer applications, emergency notification forms, volunteer hour statistics, volunteer program publicity records, insurance requirement information, and related documentation. SEE ALSO Criminal Background Check Records in this section. (Retention: (a) Retain individual volunteer records: 5 years after volunteer separation, destroy; (b) Retain all other volunteer program records: 5 years, destroy).

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.

Advanced Webinar Training for Master Gardeners

Another opportunity for Master Gardener Continuing Education Credits. Remember that 10 CEUs are needed to satisfy Master Gardener recertification requirements in Oregon.

Discussing pesticides with the public can be tricky, even for trained professionals. Master gardeners are on the front line, providing information directly to the public on a wide range of topics. In this webinar, pesticide specialists with the National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC) will provide resources that master gardeners can use to navigate these conversations. We will discuss topics including protecting pollinators from pesticides, comparing organic and conventional pesticides, how to minimize exposures to pesticides, and how individual risk perception influences behavior. Join us for live Q&A after the presentation.

A recording of the webinar will be posted to the NPIC YouTube channel.

Thursday, April 12th at 1:00pm EST (10:00am PT)

Target audience: Master Gardeners, County Extension Agents, Universities
Presenters: Alicia Leytem & April Strid, Pesticide Specialists, NPIC
Duration: 1:00 hour

Cost: Free

To join:

Registration is required for this free webinar.

Registration will be accepted up to the day of the webinar.

Participants may join the webinar up to 10 minutes early.

To Register: https://oregonstate.webex.com/oregonstate/onstage/g.php?MTID=e730999a7bf8a7580242869dc7c96dd02

Event number: 921 552 205

For audio by phone:

+1-415-655-0002 (US Toll)

Access code: 921 552 205

It’s Master Gardener Awards Season!

Please remember ~ the deadline for submitting most (all?) Master Gardener award nominations is coming up..

The awards that may be submitted include:

Due May 15th

Due June 1st

More information on Master Gardener awards and grants may be found at: http://omga.org/programs-and-awards/

Advanced Training Webinars for Master Gardener Continuing Education Credit

In reading through the survey responses coming in for our CHAP survey, it is becoming obvious that:
1) many veteran MG volunteers express frustration at not having options to maintain their MG certification ~ particularly for the continuing education requirement. To maintain certification, volunteers need to accrue 10 hours of continuing education and 20 volunteer service hours, annually.
2) many of these same folks seem not to know about the Advanced Training webinars that Brooke Edmunds has put together. These webinars are all eligible for MG continuing education credit (one hour per class). The 2018 webinars and the 2017 webinars, combined, equal nine hours of continuing education credit ~  just one away from meeting the continuing education recertification requirement.
Please make sure that your veteran MGs know about this option.

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/