The Oregon Master Gardener Statewide Trivia Tournament is happening during our “quiet gardening times” of October and November 2023, and January and February 2024. Open to OSU Extension Master Gardener volunteers throughout Oregon, these five sessions offer the opportunity to learn more about specific gardening topics, have fun, and even win prizes.
Register to play.
Join via zoom.
Connect to the trivia app (Slido) on your phone or computer.
At the start of the tournament evening, you’ll be directed to the Slido app to begin competing.
Multiple choice trivia, 50 questions per session.
Winners will be announced live during the Zoom event.
Each session counts as one Continuing Education Unit for Master Gardener volunteers.
Did we say prizes? Yes we did. For each session, you can win gift certificates to mail-order garden companies in the PNW.
1st place: $100 gift certificate
2nd place: $50 gift certificate
3rd place: $25 gift certificate
Winners will receive gift certificates approximately one week after each event.
Hello! This is your Winter Update from your statewide Growing & Belonging committee. Four times a year we publish on the program news blog, sharing our work, findings, and resources to help keep you informed and engaged in creating a local Master Gardener program and association experience that is one of growing and belonging.
Thank you to the 75 Master Gardener volunteers, faculty, and staff who gathered last month to view Dirt! The Movie on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Day of Service. Dr. Gail Langellotto shared reflections on the movie and several Master Gardeners offered their thoughts on the movie as well. I encourage you to read your fellow Master Gardeners’ words in the comments section but will share here a bit of what Donna Leveridge-Campbell wrote:
Dirt! The Movie…resonated with me in so many ways, both in my long-held beliefs and gut feelings, and that there was much synchronicity with things I have read and taken to heart. For myself, I have been considering ways I can support the dissemination of this important information and world-view in order to bring about the much-needed changes to bring health to our soils and biomes, and to our human communities.
A quote from Robin Wall Kimmerer in her phenomenal book, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants, that kind of sums up where I am at in my life these days is, “The most important thing each of us can know is our unique gift and how to use it in the world.” Another quote I love from this book is, “I taught my daughters to garden so that they would always have a mother to love them, long after I am gone.”
Do you or someone you know garden to connect to your culture? We would love to share your story. The Culture of Gardening storytelling site, a project of the Growing & Belonging committee, is a beautiful collection of photos and stories told in the gardener’s own words, of gardening to connect us to our heritage and foods specific to our own cooking. Please consider sharing your story or nominating a fellow gardener to be interviewed and featured. Our stories are powerful, healing, and insightful. Please email LeAnn LeAnn.Locher@OregonState.edu to be connected to the project: we promise to make it an easy and fun experience!
Webinar series: Culturally Inclusive Teaching in the Garden. A six-part series from February – June exploring ways to celebrate and center culture through garden-based learning. “Garden education is increasingly recognized as an interdisciplinary approach that integrates academic goals, health and wellness, place-based education, and community connections and relationships. However, a discussion of culture is often missing in garden-based education. To validate and celebrate the interests and experiencesof our students, we will delve deep into the significance of culture as it relates to food and gardens and also as it relates to the diverse populations with whom we work.”
A wonderful resource for all garden educators, and that certainly includes Master Gardeners!
Exhibit at the High Desert Museum in Bend: Creations of Spirit. Six Plateau artists created works recognizing and containing the spirit of their maker and will have ongoing relationships with contemporary communities. These six pieces are meant to be borrowed and used by the community. Learn more about this innovative and thoughtful project.
“A lot of times it’s hard because baskets are cherished and put behind glass and they’re never out. That’s what I really liked about this project. The basket is going to be out there and useful. It’ll wear, it’ll get dirty, and it’ll have marks of age that define its history.” – Joe Feddersen, member of the Confederated Tribes of Colville Reservation
Podcast Black Food: Liberation, Food Justice and Stewardship. Listen to this important conversation between Karen Washington and Bryant Terry on how Black Food culture is weaving the threads of a rich African agricultural heritage with the liberation of economics from an extractive corporate food oligarchy. The results can be health, conviviality, community wealth, and the power of self-determination.
Call to Action for Master Gardener Associations: Here is a wonderful book to pre-order for your Master Gardener resource library. A new children’s book by Warm Springs Elder Linda Meanus, is set to be published by Confluence and OSU Press in June 2023. Learn more about Native American history through a first-hand account, “My Name is LaMoosh” is also a reminder that Indigenous people continue to maintain a cultural connection to the land and river that gave them their identity. Preorder here.
We encourage Master Gardener volunteers to share the information and resources in this winter update with others, including your fellow volunteers. Read and together discuss these resources, consider organizing a listening session of the podcast or a group trip to an exhibit, or purchasing these publications for your Master Gardener resource library. Thank you for contributing to a growing and belonging environment in your Master Gardener program.
Yesterday, Oregon State University (OSU) kicked off their 41st annual Martin Luther King, Jr. commemoration event. For the fourth consecutive year, the OSU Extension Master Gardener program hosted a commemoration event. A total of 174 people, from Oregon to Brooklyn, NYC attended a screening of Dirt! The Movie. For the second year in a row, the College of Agricultural Sciences Dean, Dr. Staci Simonich, attended the event.
In advance of the movie, we shared three questions that we asked attendees to reflect upon during the movie. In an effort to spur discussion, I wanted to share my answers to these three questions. I invite you to share your answers, in the comments section of this blog post.
Question #1: Dirt! The Movie demonstrates some of the unjust systems surrounding agriculture and how our most impoverished communities are most greatly impacted. How is this seen in your region of Oregon? Who are some of these communities being impacted?
Gail’s Answer to Question #1: In the movie, we saw the stories of farmers who moved from regenerative agricultural practices to a resource-extractive approach to agriculture. The switch left soils depleted, and in extreme cases resulted in desertification, or the degradation of soil properties such that they can no longer sustain life. With soils depleted, farming families moved to urban areas in search of work. However, a lack of jobs and opportunities often resulted in many families from this urban to rural migration ending up in slums.
In truth, I had a hard time connecting this aspect of the movie to what I have seen in Oregon. I could connect it to events of the past, such as the Dust Bowl, which was catalyzed by a decade long drought in the 1930s, farming submarginal lands, and economic conditions that caused farmers to abandon soil conservation practices to reduce costs. The loss of livelihoods, caused millions of people to migrate west in search of work. The hopelessness of the situation was deftly and artfully captured by John Steinbeck in The Grapes of Wrath.
In truth, I think of access to greenspace as a fundamental human right. In the Biophilia hypothesis, E. O. Wilson argues that humans have an innate connection to nature. This idea was expanded upon by Richard Louv, when coined the term ‘Nature Deficit Disorder’, and warned us of the harm that can come when children lose a connection to nature.
The idea that we all benefit from contact with soil and the natural world was touched upon in the movie. Whether it was the ‘GreenTeam’ planting trees in New York City, or gardeners growing vegetables in correctional facilities, many of those interviewed described the healing they felt through gardening.
Gail’s Answer to Question #2: Many of the folks who attended last night’s movie screening typed ‘I want to be a hummingbird’ (or something similar) into the chat. If you missed last night’s screening, you can view the excerpt where Wangari Maathi tells the story of the hummingbird and the fire, below.
Question #3: The relationship between dirt and conflict is centered in the movie. Martin Luther King Jr. used the power of words and acts of nonviolent resistance to achieve seemingly-impossible goals. What can gardeners be inspired by knowing this?
Gail’s Answer to Question #3: As an introverted scientist, I long discounted the power of words and imagery to make a difference. Afterall, shouldn’t the outcomes of my statistical tests be all that you need to see? (Joking.)
Having the immense good fortune of working with LeAnn Locher for the past 2 and a half years changed my mind on this matter. Words matter. Over the past few years, we have worked to grow our comfort in conversation around difficult issues. We have embedded equity and inclusion in our programmatic vision and values. We have prioritized cultural connection as an important are of work in the garden. [You can read more about our mission, vision, values, and priorities, here.]
But even the most moving of words are meaningless, without effective follow through. And this is where I challenge you, dear gardeners. Think about what dirt means to you. Think about how you can grow a love for gardening, wildlife, soils, and the natural world in others ~ not by heavy-handed instruction, but by actively listening and meeting people where they are. From the garden-curious, to those ready to hit the ground running but without easy access to a garden plot or materials, to those who have gardened for many years and in many places ~ the biggest and greatest calling of Extension Master Gardener Programs (in my opinion) is to make this world a better place by growing more gardeners.
If access to greenspace is a fundamental human right . . . everyone who has the desire to do so should be able to access and grow a garden.
If you’ve made it this far in the post, I would love to hear your thoughts on the three questions that were posed, or on the movie screening. Please feel free to leave a comment on this post. Note that we moderate comments, to keep spam posts off of this blog. Once we have a chance to review a comment and ensure it is not spam (even if it is a negative comment!) we approve posting.
We’ll be screening the movie online with an opportunity to chat with other attendees throughout the movie. No registration required. Free.
About Dirt! The Movie Made from the same elements as the stars, plants and animals, and us, “dirt is very much alive.” Though, in modern industrial pursuits and clamor for both profit and natural resources, our human connection to and respect for soil has been disrupted. “Drought, climate change, even war are all directly related to the way we are treating dirt.” DIRT! the Movie—directed and produced by Bill Benenson and Gene Rosow and narrated by Jaime Lee Curtis—brings to life the environmental, economic, social and political impact that the soil has. It shares the stories of experts from all over the world who study and are able to harness the beauty and power of a respectful and mutually beneficial relationship with soil. DIRT! the Movie is simply a movie about dirt. The real change lies in our notion of what dirt is. The movie teaches us: “When humans arrived 2 million years ago, everything changed for dirt. And from that moment on, the fate of dirt and humans has been intimately linked.” But more than the film and the lessons that it teaches, DIRT the Movie is a call to action.
Three questions for attendees to reflect upon prior to the movie:
Dirt! The Movie demonstrates some of the unjust systems surrounding agriculture and how our most impoverished communities are most greatly impacted. How is this seen in your region of Oregon? Who are some of these communities being impacted?
The relationship between dirt and conflict is centered in the movie. Martin Luther King Jr. used the power of words and acts of nonviolent resistance to achieve seemingly-impossible goals. What can gardeners be inspired by knowing this?
About OSU’s 41st Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration 2023
Open to Master Gardeners throughout Oregon this fall and winter, join us once a month for an evening of multiple choice trivia, all online. With 50 questions per session, learn about timely gardening topics, have fun, and earn valuable prizes.
Each session is good for one Continuing Education Credit in the Master Gardener program.
How it works
Register below for each night you plan to play. Then the night of the event, join via Zoom, and play along via the trivia app “Slido” on your phone or computer. Instructions will be sent upon registration.
There are prizes
Valuable prizes each session!
1st place: $100 gift certificate*
2nd place: $50 gift certificate*
3rd place $25 gift certificate
*Gift certificates to mail-order garden companies in the PNW such as Territorial Seed Company, Conifer Kingdom, Heirloom Roses, Noname Nursery, etc. Winners will receive gift certificates approximately one week after each event.
The whole schedule (separate registration for each):
For the Latinx and immigrant community in Lane county, gardening in community means connecting in the 7 community gardens and growing organic produce together. At an upcoming webinar by the Lane County Master Gardener Association, learn how Centro Latino Americano (formerly Huerto de la Familia) provides services and support for this great initiative, and how gardeners are teaching new gardeners in the garden. Leaders from the organization will share insight into community building through gardening, lessons learned, and examples of community engagement.
Come learn how the Lane County Master Gardener Association has fostered this important community relationship and helped to take a behind-the-scenes role in supporting Centro Latino Americano’s work.
Tuesday, September 20th, 6:30-7:30 pm. Online webinar.
This is the second in a series of posts sharing the work of the first cohort of the Master Gardener Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Taskforce. See overview for general information and background. … Celebrating and centering diversity, equity and inclusion was the focus of this working group. They identified areas to raise the recognition of DEI by communicating through events, highlighting the diversity of gardeners, and celebrating themes of inclusion and equity in our social media.
While most of the work of the other working groups was behind the scenes, the work in this committee was public-facing. It recognized the importance of consistently communicating the program’s recognition, celebration, and representation of diversity among gardeners.
Movie: Gather, followed by a discussion with Dr. Samantha Chisholm Hatfield and Dr. David Lewis (online). Attended live by 1,100.
Gardening provides a safe space for reflection, a connection to heritage, and a celebration of identity. But popular culture and the horticultural industry have historically left many voices out. The Culture of Gardening storytelling initiative creates a space for all to feel seen and heard — and share the experiences that mean the most to them. Created in April 2021 through the OSU Extension Master Gardener DEI Taskforce, the Culture of Gardening is a collection of personal stories gathered through interviews by a small team of Master Gardener faculty and volunteers, presented as an OSU Extension blog, and then distributed through social media. Each story is shared in the interviewee’s exact words to preserve authenticity. Topics include gardening as a source of healing, foods passed on from generation to generation, family history, connection to community, and more. The goals for the project includeamplifying diverse voices in gardening and highlighting cultural connections to growing a plant. The work demonstrates and centers on the importance of gardeners and gardening to connect inter-and cross-culturally and to honor and attract a more diverse group of Master Gardener volunteers. The project demonstrates “diversity in action.”Some posts include recipes used in the preparation of food grown in the gardens, ranging from a grandmother’s gyoza recipe using homegrown Nira, to raita made with homegrown cucumbers. Short quotes from the full stories shared on the blog are posted in social media, along with photos, linking to the full stories on the blog.
The stories we share in the Master Gardener program are an important representation of who is seen as gardeners in the community: these stories ensure representation of a vital and growing demographic of gardeners connecting to themselves, community, culture, and ancestors, all through the beauty of gardening.
Facebook: each post reaches approx. 5,500 and engages 150-500. The current reach is 168,000. 8 posts have been made on Facebook.
Instagram: The current reach on Instagram is 8,700. Additional posts are made to Stories, and one Instagram Live event was broadcast.
This is an ongoing project, engaging volunteers, faculty, and staff in sharing these stories. It was identified as a major example of diverse representation in OSU Extension communications. In addition, it was featured in OSU Office of Institutional Diversity’s magazine Taking Action, a publication that aims to highlight the rich diversity of equity work at the university.
Heritage months and identity recognitions
Celebrating the history and contributions of historically marginalized identities offers the opportunity for our community of gardeners to learn more about the people, traditions, history, and current experiences within our communities. A calendar was created and adopted to communicate through the year in our social media channels. These include months celebrating Black history (February), women’s history (March), Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage (May), Pride (June), Hispanic heritage, and Native American heritage (November). Social media posts were published, generating celebration and discussion, and many expressed gratitude for the recognition.
Gardeners in Oregon saw what climate change looks like last summer: widespread leaf scorch and leaf drop from trees, bees at risk from heat stress, and plants succumbing to a record-breaking “heat dome”. Dr. Vivek Shandas saw it too, and on the hottest day of the year he set out with his son to measure air and ground temperatures in some of Portland’s most vulnerable communities. His research on climate adaptation and climate justice shows that how people fare during extreme heatwaves is in large part dictated by where they live. Halfway around the globe, Anita Chitaya lives with climate change in Malawai, as a farmer and community activist. She traveled to America to speak with farmers, growers, community organizers, and politicians about climate change and how we can work together to reduce its rapid trajectory.
Movie and Discussion: The Ants and the Grasshopper, and a climate change discussion for gardeners with Vivek Shandas
Join us for the 40th anniversary of OSU’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, when we will gather virtually to reflect upon environmental justice as a component to achieving social justice. We will watch the documentary that chronicles Anita Chitaya’s story, “The Ants and the Grasshopper”. Afterward, stay for a live discussion with Dr. Vivek Shandas about climate change effects on vulnerable communities, the intersection of climate change and social justice, and what role gardeners can play to promote healthier living environments for all.
About the movie, The Ants and the Grasshopper : How do you change someone’s mind about the most important thing in the world? Anita Chitaya has a gift: she can change farmers’ minds about what to grow, she can change what people love to eat, and she can even persuade men to fight for gender equality. Now, to save her home in Malawi from extreme weather, she faces her greatest challenge: persuading Americans that climate change is real.
About Dr. Vivek Shandas: Vivek Shandas is a Professor in the College of Urban and Public Affairs at Portland State University. His work focuses on developing strategies for addressing the implications of climate change on cities. His teaching and research examine the intersection of exposure to climate-induced events, governance processes, and planning mechanisms. As the Founder and Director of the Sustaining Urban Places Research (SUPR) laboratory at PSU, he brings a policy-relevant approach to research, including the evaluation of environmental stressors on human health, developing of indicators and tools to improve decision making, and the construction of frameworks to guide the growth of urban regions. Over the past several years, research from the SUPR Lab has appeared in the Smithsonian Magazine, National Public Radio, Washington Post, Minnesota Public Broadcasting, NY Times, Qatar Times, and several other national and international media.
About this event: The OSU Extension Master Gardener program is sponsoring this event as one small part of OSU’s 40th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Celebration. This event is open to all gardeners, including Master Gardener volunteers, and is intended to provide an opportunity to reflect on Dr. King’s legacy, and our programmatic commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion, as well as climate change.
How to access this event: Tickets are free but require registration. Once you register at Kinema you’ll be provided sign-in information from Kinema. You must view the movie and discussion through Kinema at the time this event is scheduled.
While this event is in the evening, Master Gardeners are encouraged to use their day of service.
Here are some ideas:
Make your commitments for the year to teach and reach gardeners who are underserved by our services
Make seed tape or mason bee houses to donate to your local community garden or school garden
If your Master Gardener Association hosts an annual plant sale, include plant donations to your local community garden or school garden in your propagation plans
For Master Gardener coordinators and local association leadership, connect to your local SNAP-Ed educator in your Extension office and ask “What can we do?”
Commit to supporting your local SNAP-Ed educator in every county, as a support to our joint Food Hero and Grow This! program.
Commit to planning a workshop that broadens community outreach. Plan for an event with childcare in conjunction with a community partner whose work you want to support.
Make plans and commitments for 2022 to explore the connection of gardeners to combat climate change as a form of environmental justice. Explore the intersection of those most vulnerable to climate change and climate change, and what gardeners can do to better connect these.
What are your ideas as gardeners for being of service to community on MLK Day? We’d love to hear them.
Thank you to everyone who participated in our first ever Master Gardener Photo Contest! We are so grateful for the time and intention you made through connecting your art to the program’s priorities and values.
And the winners are…
Category: Place The places of Master Gardeners: beauty shots of demonstration and learning gardens. What would you put on the cover of a travel magazine featuring demonstration gardens?
First place: Denise Saunders, Benton County
Notes from the judges: This photo tells a story of abundance and what can come from a well-tended garden, and from a demonstration garden. Specifically noting the incredible yield, and in a beautiful photo with diagonal lines, and wonderful contrasting colors. There’s also a sense of fun, realness and simplicity to this photo that we really love!
Second place: Geoff Puryear, Douglas County
Notes from the judges: This is a beautiful landscape photo with great texture, shape and form, and gorgeous color. This tells such an excellent story about what you can see and learn in a demonstration garden, including the pairing of plants, use of gravel and rocks, and diversity of plants. This photo also ties into the Master Gardener program priority of climate change, demonstrating xeriscaping in the garden.
Category: People The people (Master Gardeners) in action, fulfilling the program’s mission and vision.
First place: Denise Saunders, Benton County
Notes from the judges: Master Gardeners working together: we are stronger as teams! This is also a great photo example of gardening techniques, with mulch, irrigation, and plant support structures in a demonstration garden. The diagonal lines in the plant structure are repeated in the lines of the irrigation and the colors in this photo are what a lovely day to work in the garden is all about: look at that bright blue sky!
Second place: Maryann Keiffer, Klamath County
Notes from the judges: This is a happy gardener with a successful harvest from the garden—even if we can’t see the smile under the mask, we’re pretty sure there’s one there. So many great angles in this photo, from the gardener’s pose to the lines of the raised bed to the two arching sunflowers that run vertically up the center. Thank you, Maryann for participating in the Grow This! Challenge with our friends at Food Hero and for capturing this great photo of your haul.
Category: Program Priorities Depictions of any of our eight program priorities: -Sustainable gardening skills -Plant and insect identification and education -Local food -Native species -Adaptive and accessible gardening -Climate change -Cultural connection -Soil health
First place: Heidi Nichols, Multnomah County
Notes from the judges: Wow! This photo is one of those magic moments many gardeners experience but don’t always have a camera at the ready. Excellent focus, composition and color combined with clear connection to our program priorities of native species, sustainable gardening, and even local food.
Second place: Donald Lyon, Linn County
Notes from the judges: Careful and close attention to the small things in the garden pay off, and that includes identifying insects. This is a fantastic close-up/macro with great composition, and even captures the insects from two angles, which is so helpful in proper identification. The use of select focus allows the viewer to really concentrate on the elements of the insects, and even the slight angle of the plant adds to this photograph’s overall attractiveness. Check out the texture on those antennae!
Thank you to OSU Extension Communications for supplying prizes for the winners. Also, thank you to the judges who included Ann Marie Murphy of OSU Extension Communications, and 2021 Statewide Behind the Scenes Master Gardener Award winner, Sue Ryburn for joining me in judging.
Finally, thank you to everyone who participated. There were many fantastic photos submitted and if you didn’t enter this year, start collecting your submissions for next year!