Exciting opportunity to support the Master Gardener program

woman in sweatshirt holding in her gloved hand a large onion that she just harvested from a large raised garden bed of onions. Beavs Dam Proud Day Believe it. 4/26/23 OSU Extension Master Gardeners Let's Show Up!

One day, everyone together.

On April 26, 2023, Master Gardeners and supporters will come together to show our belief in the Master Gardener program and Oregon State University’s Dam Proud Day. This 24-hour period is dedicated to celebrating the accomplishments of the Oregon State community, including supporting Master Gardeners, and stretching ourselves toward our aspirations.

As a featured fund on Dam Proud Day, we have a special opportunity to raise money to support our work.

On one day, can you imagine what we could do together?

Here’s how Master Gardener volunteers, past and present, can help NOW.

1.     Help us tell the Master Gardener story. Share your story by participating in our storytelling campaign. Reach out to LeAnn at leann.locher@oregonstate.edu to receive 3 questions for you to answer, and to send in a photo. We’ll be sharing these over the coming weeks to highlight all that Master Gardeners do. Your stories tell the story of the Master Gardener program!

2.     Follow OSU Extension Master Gardener on social media. www.facebook.com/OSUMG and @mastergardenersOSU on instagram. Share our stories and posts about Dam Proud Day with your friends and followers.

3.     Show up on April 26th and make a donation online signaling your support for the Master Gardener program. It’s all online, all on one day.

On one day, we can show up for gardening and Master Gardeners in Oregon!

An exciting opportunity for Master Gardener demonstration gardens and volunteers: Master Gardener Grow-Along

Master Gardeners and their demonstration gardens are invited to participate in a “grow along” event this growing season. “Grow along” with thousands of Oregonian households who are participating in the Grow This! Gardening Challenge, an initiative of SNAP-Ed and Food Hero. (Last year 93,138 Oregonians participated!) These beginning gardeners can learn from you, see the same plants they are growing in your demonstration gardens, and discover the incredible resource they have with local Master Gardeners and the educational gardens you care for.

What you’ll do:

-Grow one or more of the following plants (preferably by seed) in your local Master Gardener demonstration garden.

  • Kale
  • Tomatoes
  • Herbs
  • Lettuce
  • Zinnias

-Share via email 2-3 updates a month of the progress, including photos, tips, challenges, and/or advice for growing these plants.

-Offer Grow This! participants the opportunity to drop by during your garden work days to talk with Master Gardeners, and visit your gardens.

Some examples of updates shared in 2022:

What you’ll receive:

-Your growing updates and open garden opportunities will be shared through the Grow This! Newsletter, the Food Hero social media channels, as well as the OSU Master Gardener social media channels.

-Recognition of participation on our statewide demonstration garden page (this is a much-visited resource to the public).

-Increased recognition of the value and assets of local demonstration gardens.

-Connection to a local audience eager to learn how to grow their own food and begin gardening, many for the first time.

Other ideas:

-Some demonstration gardens may want to plan special open house events around growing these five types of plants, such as “learn how to plant your new seedlings” or “how to build your own tomato cage out of recycled materials.”

-Share a video how-to from your garden, demonstrating how your team direct sows zinnias.

-Share photos of your educational signage for growing these plants, or growing in containers.

We are excited to highlight the many demonstration gardens across the state to an eager and large audience seeking to grow healthy food on a budget.

Apply here: https://oregonstate.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_2g9jL9phEboAGkS

Please apply to participate by March 31.

About Grow This!

The Grow This! Garden Challenge is a call to action to families, schools and other groups to garden together and eat what we grow. Participants receive free seeds, a monthly garden newsletter with new, simple ideas for growing; tips on harvesting, seed-starting, seed-saving and pollinators; recipes; and more. This is a project of Food Hero, whose mission is to help low-income Oregonians improve their health by increasing their consumption of fruits and vegetables, and is an initiative of Oregon Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) program, developed by Oregon State University Extension Service and funded jointly by OSU Extension Service, Oregon Department of Human Services, and the United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service. 

P.S. Visit all of our gardening content at Food Hero: wonderful resources for beginning gardeners!

Call for nominations: this year’s Oregon Master Gardener Awards

We are excited to celebrate the good work of OSU Extension Master Gardener volunteers. Please remember that May 15th is the due date for all Oregon Master Gardener Association (OMGA) awards. You can learn more about the awards on the OMGA website. (Check back as links are added). All awards should be submitted electronically.  

This year, there is also a new county and statewide award, recommended by the MG Growing and Belonging Committee and approved by the OMGA Board of Directors at the November 2022 meeting. This new award, called the Growing and Belonging Award, will recognize volunteers who have significantly contributed in advancing diversity, inclusion, access, and/or equity among Master Gardener volunteers and clientele. Examples and more information about the Growing & Belonging Awards are here.

Ready to get started nominating? Here are the nomination forms:

 Statewide Master Gardener of the Year

Statewide Behind the Scenes Award

Statewide Growing and Belonging Award

County Master Gardener of the Year

County Behind the Scenes Award

County Growing and Belonging Award

Remember that all award nominations must be COLLABORATIVELY prepared, working with your local Master Gardener Association and your local Master Gardener Program staff.

County Master Gardener awards are decided upon at the local level. This includes County Master Gardener of the Year, County Behind the Scenes, and County Growing and Belonging awards. Once nomination forms are submitted to the statewide office, we use this information to prepare certificates, press release announcements, and posters that are displayed at that annual Master Gardener statewide conference, known as Mini-College.

Note that County Master Gardener award winners are not automatically advanced to consideration for statewide awards. A separate nomination form is needed.

Statewide awards are nominated by county Master Gardener Programs and Associations. This includes Statewide Master Gardener of the Year, Statewide Behind the Scenes, and Statewide Growing and Belonging. Nomination forms are then distributed to the OMGA Awards committee for review, scoring, and discussion, to ultimately determine a winner for each award. This year, the awards committee consists of past winners of the Statewide Master Gardener of Year, including Jane Moyer (2022), Susan Albright (2021), and Chris Rusch (2021). Committee members also include past winners of the Statewide Behind the Scenes Award, including Sherry Sheng (2022) and Sue Ryburn (2021). The Statewide Master Gardener Program Coordinator, Gail Langellotto, serves as committee chair.

We are looking forward to receiving your nominations, and reading about the wonderful work you have done across the state, by supporting aspiring, novice, and experienced gardeners.

Please submit your nominations before or on May 15th deadline! 

Introducing a new award: Growing & Belonging

What does it mean to grow our work inclusively? To create an environment where everyone belongs? Let’s find out, together, with our new Growing & Belonging County, and Statewide Awards.

In addition to our Master Gardener of the Year, and Behind the Scenes awards, 2023 marks the first year recognizing and celebrating the volunteers who have significantly contributed in advancing diversity, inclusion, access, and/or equity among Master Gardener volunteers and the communities we work with.

Unlike our longstanding awards of Master Gardener of the Year, and Behind the Scenes awards, these awards do not recognize the length of time served as a Master Gardener, but instead, the impact their work has made in creating a belonging environment, inclusive of diverse communities such as race, ethnicity, culture, abilities, sexual orientation, gender identity, and/or growing our volunteer work in traditionally under-invested communities. The best of these projects are co-created with the individuals being served, listening to their needs, and responding with a project that meets those needs.

Some examples:

  • Launched a new Seed to Supper course at a local low-income housing community.
  • Organized a seed swap with the organizers of Juneteenth and helped on site.
  • Introduced a training for fellow volunteers around the importance of the use of pronouns and supporting our transgender community.
  • Created a partnership with a local day-hire advocacy group to provide plant identification training in Spanish to day laborers.
  • Worked with the organizers and clients of a local homeless services center for the best way Master Gardeners could help or partner together to create a community garden.
  • Identified needs for ensuring accessibility for all attendees when attending in-person, outdoor events. Developed a checklist of accessibility options to be used by Master Gardeners in planning these events.

All of these examples center work in partnership with other organizations that have trusted relationships with their communities.

What: County, and Statewide Growing and Belonging Award

Why: This award comes as a recommendation made by your Master Gardener Growing & Belonging Committee. It was approved by the OMGA Board of Directors at the November 2022 meeting.


Deadline: May 15th, 2023

What about the other awards? Same deadline, same process. Information about all of the awards is available here.

Does nominating someone for a county award automatically put them in a pool of nominees for the statewide award? No. That is a common misconception. Like our other awards, separate nominations are needed. County nominations are automatically awarded. Statewide nominations go on to a committee for review. You can enter the same person for both county and for state.

We are excited to introduce these new awards and to celebrate the good work of OSU Extension Master Gardener volunteers.