Jack’s story: advocating for inclusion and diversity through gardening

“I became a Master Gardener in 2006 after I retired from teaching with Portland Public Schools. I wanted to continue working in my community using my teaching skills with environmental organizations since I had a history of working years earlier in the summers with the United States Forest Service as a Field Technician and with Oregon State Department of Forestry in Fire Suppression.  I had always been interested in ecology, gardening, and environmental issues.
I am most proud of being able to share information about all manner of issues related to composting, native pollinators, native plants, lawn alternatives and Indigenous Peoples management of land resources. I do this with the general public including garden clubs and libraries and fellow Master Gardeners as well.
Master Gardeners are needed now more than ever to be tuned in to other members of the public who have been underrepresented in our organization. There is an ever-widening group of gardeners from various ethnic and cultural backgrounds who are very interested in learning more about growing their preferred plants and herbs in Oregon and to share their own garden expertise from growing plants native to their various countries and used in their daily meal preparations.
There are also other groups from the LGBTQ and BIPOC communities that are interested in becoming or already are Master Gardeners who deserve to have their interests represented and shared with current members and they may be tentative in sharing their experiences. I am an ally for trans and non-binary members of the community so I represent their interests in the Master Gardener organization as well.”

This is but one of the many stories of the OSU Extension Master Gardener program we’re sharing this month in honor of Dam Proud Day. On April 26, Beavers everywhere will come together to support the things we do best: transformative educational experiences and life-changing research.
We are excited to be raising support specifically for our Seed to Supper program and updating our foundational resource, the “Sustainable Gardening Handbook” to reflect current knowledge. Please join us in gathering your friends and colleagues to give to support the Master Gardener Program on Dam Proud Day, at any donation level. See you (online) April 26th!

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