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!

Growing & Belonging: Winter Update

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.

Events

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.”

Read more of the thoughtful comments here.

Call for Participation

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!

Resources You May Find Helpful

The work of Dr. Douglas Deur, associate research professor at Portland State University, focuses on the intersection between culture, place, and environment. He works closely with Native American knowledge holders to illuminate misunderstood environmental traditions, and more. Keeping It Living: Traditions of Plant Use and Cultivation on the Northwest Coast of North America tells the story of traditional plant cultivation practices found from the Oregon coast to Southeast Alaska.

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 experiences of 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.

This is Kalapuyan Land at the Pittock Mansion in Portland is an exhibition of contemporary Indigenous artworks alongside a selection of historical panels curated by Steph Littlebird (Grand Ronde, Kalapuya, Chinook). Learn more and plan a visit with your fellow Master Gardeners.  

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.  

A call to action for gardeners: Dirt! The Movie screening

As part of OSU’s 41st Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration 2023, the OSU Extension Master Gardener program is proud to host an online movie screening of Dirt! The Movie.

When: Monday, January 16th at 3:00 pm

Where: online at https://kosmi.app/bllb9i

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:

  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?
  2. The King Center’s 2023 observance is titled “It starts with me.” Master Gardener volunteers are community educators: what responsibility do we have, as individuals and as a collective, to ensure our work strives to remove the inequities of Oregon’s different communities.
  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?

About OSU’s 41st Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration 2023

The annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration is the longest-running annual event at Oregon State University focused on social justice and transformative change. The commemoration objectives are:

  • Learn about and reflect on the life and legacy of Dr. King and collaboratively envision ways to carry forward his work;
  • Participate in an impactful, inclusive and engaging celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. King; and
  • Collaboratively learn about and reflect on the legacy of Dr. King in a way that is relevant in today’s context.

OSU Extension Master Gardeners Statewide Trivia Tournament

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):

Questions? Contact Nicole Sanchez at nicole.sanchez@oregonstate.edu 

What does it mean to garden in community?

Photo courtesy Centro Latino Americano

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.

Master Gardener volunteers and program coordinators across the state are invited and encouraged to attend. Read more about the event, and register for the webinar.

“Inclusive curriculum” working group

This is the fifth and final 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.

In cohort I of the Master Gardener Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion task force, the curriculum subcommittee was tasked with “growing the breadth of the Master Gardener curriculum to incorporate cultural practices and multicultural competencies within the program.” This was a huge endeavor and one that will obviously take more time and resources to fully address than was available to the small group of ~15 people that were part of the curriculum workgroup. Nonetheless, this small but mighty group made amazing process across their year of work and study.

The accomplishments of the curriculum subgroup can be broken down into four categories:

  1. Suggestions related to the redesign of specific classes that are part of the Master Gardener curriculum to include a focus on equity, inclusion, and cultural appreciation. 
  2. Assembling a list of educators who might be invited guest speakers for Master Gardener classes, conferences, or seminar series.
  3. Assembling a library of resources that can inform culturally-specific gardening instruction and education.
  4. Developing a community agreement that enables us to do our best work, achieve our common vision, and serve our community well.

Currently, the resources that the curriculum subgroup developed and assembled are not publically accessible. As we are starting to think about where cohort II of this task force will spend time and energy, one opportunity might be to format and annotate these curricular resources, and posting them on a publicly accessible website, with instructions or suggestions for how to best adopt, adapt, and integrate these resources into Master Gardener classes. In the meantime, we can provide a glimpse into the type of work that the curriculum subgroup completed, across each of the four categories.


Suggestions related to the redesign of specific classes that are part of the Master Gardener curriculum, to include a focus on equity, inclusion and cultural appreciation. 

Group members selected a Master Gardener class topic that they remember, from their own time as a Master Gardener trainee. They made suggestions about different ways that a multi-cultural perspective could be incorporated into the class, and also offered ideas for relevant hands-on activities or field trips.

For example, one task force member suggested that Climate Change should be an integral part of Master Gardener training and that this class could include information that grows an appreciation for how land and resources were managed, before activities of a more populous civilization contributed to global warming. Another opportunity for incorporating concepts of equity into a climate change class would be to include information on the disproportionate impacts that climate change has on marginalized communities, and the role that landscaping plays in reducing risk and harm.

Another task force member suggested re-envisioning the Master Gardener ‘container gardening’ class to instead focus on Gardening in Small Spaces. The class would specifically address the broader group of people who may not think of themselves as gardeners, but nonetheless appreciate and engage with plants. This course would also dispel the myth about needing land to garden.

A third task force member suggested we incorporate excerpts from Robin Wall Kimmerer’s ‘Braiding Sweetgrass’ into a class on Native Plants. Field trips or work parties could focus on native plant conservation and an understanding of the importance of native plants that are gathered during seasonal rounds, to the Northern Paiute people that are now part of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs. Other ideas included broadening the Vegetable Gardening class to include instruction on cultural growing practices that may be outside of the peer-reviewed literature.

How Cohort II Could Continue This Work:
One potential task for Cohort II task force members would be to select one or two of these ideas, and formulate them into a lesson plan, that could be adopted and adapted by local counties.


Assembling a list of educators, who might be invited guest speakers for Master Gardener classes, conferences, or seminar series.

Task force members created a list of speakers that are recognized experts in their field, who could broaden our understanding of indigenous seed and food sovereignty, issues and challenges faced by black farmers and naturalists, and the history of plant biology and horticulture through a socio-cultural lens. This is part of an overall effort to diversify the voices and perspectives that we learn from, and that can inform sustainable gardening practices. This effort has been taken up by members of the 2022 Growing Oregon Gardeners: Level Up Webinar Series. For example, Todd Anderson  will be part of the series later this year, and will be teaching us about specialty and culturally relevant vegetables, fruits, and herbs, and how to grow them in Oregon.

How Cohort II Could Continue This Work: Cohort II task force members might continue to grow this list of potential speakers. Also needed are specific guidelines and recommendations related to fair compensation for speakers’ time, knowledge, and talents.


Assembling a library of resources to inform culturally-specific gardening instruction and education.

Cohort I task force members created a repository to archive resources that could help to inform our work to advance culturally-specific gardening instruction and education. Thus far, the most populated resource list is for Indigenous and Native American culture. Resources include a story on Indigenous Crops and Food Traditions, the Confluence Project Library (which contains an amazing richness of resources about Oregon’s Tribes and Tribal Members), a story and interview about Pueblo Farming Methods, and a Michigan State University Extension resource on Native American Vegetables. There is also one article that features Russian vegetable gardening methods.

How Cohort II Could Continue This Work: Cohort II task force members might continue to grow and annotate this list of resources, with an eye on how to make them publically accessible to the other Master Gardener coordinators and volunteers.


Developing a community agreement that enables us to do our best work, achieve our common vision, and serve our community well.

Finally, the curriculum subcommittee developed a community agreement that was an important first step in moving forward with their work. A community agreement is what every person in a group needs from each other and commits to each other in order to feel safe, supported, open, productive and trusting, so that all can do their best work, achieve a common vision, and serve the community well. When thinking about a community agreement, it is important to contrast agreements with the norms and rules that also influence our work.

  • Agreements are an aspiration, or collective vision, for how we want to be in relationship with one another. They are explicitly developed and enforced by the group, not by an external authority, and as such must represent a consensus.
  • Norms are the ways in which we behave and are currently in relationship to each other, whether consciously and explicitly or not.
  • Rules are mandated and enforced by an authority, and do not necessarily reflect the will or buy-in of the group.

Here are the community agreements developed by a working group of the DEI Taskforce in cohort 1. They suggest that we adopt these agreements for our work in cohort 2 of the taskforce.  By participating in this work group, all members agree to the following:

  • I speak for myself: use “I” statements, and do not assume others in the group ascribe to your identity or experience.
  • Intent vs impact: before sharing, consider how what you say will affect others in the group.
  • One speaker at a time: when one person talks, everyone listens. Let people know when you are finished talking.
  • Community wisdom: nobody knows everything, but together we know a lot.
  • Take space and give space: be mindful of how much you’re participating. If you have been quiet, speak up. If you have dominated the conversation, make space for others to participate.
  • Confidentiality: details shared in this space stay here, but what’s learned goes with you.
  • Active participation: it’s better to be open and imperfect than to not participate.
  • Embrace discomfort and expect non-closure. Learning and growth are stressful: hold space for those feelings. 

The community agreement crafted by cohort I task force members aligns with the OSU College of Agricultural Sciences principles and practices for community engagement. One of the benefits of the task force community agreement is that it specifically addresses the unique needs, goals, and working conditions of our group.

How Cohort II Could Continue This Work: Cohort II task force members have an opportunity to officially consider and adopt the community agreement crafted by our colleagues.

“Who we are” working group

This is the fourth 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.

This subgroup was tasked with understanding who becomes a Master Gardener volunteer, and what is the demographic makeup of the Master Gardener community. To do this, they leveraged available data, from surveys that had been completed in Oregon and other states. The largest and most recent survey results were published by Dorn and colleagues (2018), with nearly 7,500 volunteers and more than 300 program coordinators responding from 35 U.S. states. This survey showed a remarkably consistent lack of racial diversity across the program: 94% of state coordinators, local coordinators, and Master Gardener volunteers identified as white. Most coordinators and volunteers (>70%) identified as female, and 64% of volunteers were retired.

The group also utilized a survey of Oregon’s Master Gardener volunteers that was conducted in 2008 by Weston Miller and Gail Langellotto (Langellotto-Rhodaback and Miller, 2012). This survey also referenced demographic data of the Oregon Master Gardener program, collected by McNeilan (1992, unpublished) and Kirsch and VanderZanden (2001). Interestingly, across all survey years (1992, 2001, and 2008), the racial makeup of Oregon’s Master Gardener volunteers was 95% white. However, there was a shift towards older and away from young Master Gardener volunteers across the three surveys. For example, individuals aged 50 and older represented 65%, 71%, and 74% of respondents in 1992, 2001, and 2007, respectively. Similarly, individuals aged 40 and under represented 16%, 7% and 3% of respondents in 1992, 2001 and 2007, respectively. In 1992, male volunteers made up 42% of Oregon’s Extension Master Gardener volunteer base. In 2001 and 2007, the proportion of male volunteers was 26%.

Contemporary Demographic Data is Needed

Although it was useful for the Cohort I members of the ‘Who Becomes a Master Gardener’ working group to review historical data, they clearly recommended that Cohort II consider doing a new, statewide survey to better understand the current makeup of our Master Gardener community. They suggested that the statewide Master Gardener Program provide assistance with this effort, by paying students to help with survey creation and data analysis. The group suggested that it was important to learn about people’s experiences in the programs, and to conduct exit interviews with volunteers, to understand why people leave.


Ultimately, the subgroup noted that survey data (historical and contemporary) will help us to better drive actions on how to proceed to best support an inclusive and welcoming Master Gardener Program.  Data gathered should include quantitative numbers, but also qualitative text that lets folks describe their experiences and perspectives. 

Bias Incident Training Exercise

In an effort to utilize the OSU College of Agricultural Sciences CARE document (Community Agreements), this subgroup also created a series of bias incidence scenarios that were piloted in two Master Gardener training programs. The intention of the learning exercise is to foster and support a welcoming place for Master Gardener volunteers and the community in which Master Gardeners interact. Feedback was extremely positive from the two counties that piloted the learning exercise in 2022.

Moving forward, this subgroup recommended that we broadly distribute the learning exercise and develop a Tool Kit to help local program coordinators and Master Gardener Associations understand how to incorporate the learning exercise into annual Master Gardener training and Master Gardener Association Board meetings or retreats. The tool kit would be filled with the bias incidence learning scenarios, and additional resources and suggestions for supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion in all levels of the Master Gardener Program.

Creating an Inclusive and Welcoming Community

In addition to the great work that the ‘Who Becomes a Master Gardener’ subgroup accomplished, they also left a series of suggestions for Cohort II of the Master Gardener Diversity Equity, and Inclusion Task Force. These include:

  • Communicate to program leaders, local association leadership, and the OMGA to read and share the posts from this blog.  Spread the word that anyone can subscribe to the blog.
  • Establish direct lines of communication with consistent messaging, related to the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts and expectations in the Master Gardener Program.
  • Task Force subgroups should share their work with each other, more regularly, to avoid duplication of efforts, and to better support each group’s efforts. We should take and share meeting minutes.
  • Find and support change agents in local communities. These individuals can help ensure the focus of diversity, equity, and inclusion is integrated into various events/programming.  Apply this lens to all aspects of a local county programs and/or associations. Have designated individuals to act as a change agent at meetings, fundraisers, special events/projects, demonstration garden planning, and more.
  • Support a culture of caring, by reserving  time at Master Gardener gatherings or meetings to celebrate diversity, equity and inclusion. Ideas include developing and sharing a land acknowledgement, discussing pronoun use, sharing plants and recipes of cultural significance, sharing information about important upcoming DEI events, or highlighting relevant resources that support an inclusive environment. 
  • The State-wide Master Gardener program, local programs, and/or associations should create a book club focused on topics of diversity, equity and inclusion. This could create a safe space for learning more and discussing literature in a thoughtful manner and considering how this can be applied to MG work. Discussion could be beyond books/literature, such as  a post on the Culture of Gardening blog.
  • Establish and nourish community partnerships that support equity, inclusion and diversity within the Master Gardener Program and the community. Reach out to other community groups to partner and learn from. Learn from their experience and learn the gritty details needed to establish trust and true partnership. Cohort II could consider adding to the ‘tool kit’ guidance on how to reach out to community organizations, questions to ask, things to consider for mutually supportive relationships. 
  • Recognize good diversity, equity, and inclusion work within the Master Gardener Program. Perhaps the state Master Gardener program or the OMGA could incorporate this type of recognition in their annual awards.
  • Develop resources to support Master Gardener associations in making such changes.  

And the final advice from this Cohort I subcommittee, as Cohort II begins their work:

Stay committed

“There is much work to be done. Maintain dialog. Keep at it. Even when things are uncomfortable, continue forward. Being able to talk about uncomfortable things is important. The experience of doing this work and being part of the cohort is valuable, and we are grateful that you are taking up the charge.”

Master Gardener DEI Taskforce Cohort 1 to Cohort 2

Events and communications working group

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.  

Events

Movie: Gather, followed by a discussion with Dr. Samantha Chisholm Hatfield and Dr. David Lewis (online). Attended live by 1,100. 

Movie: The Ants and the Grasshopper, followed by a discussion with Vivek Shandas (online). Attended live by 500.Talk:

Abra Lee talk, “The future is in our hands.” (online). Attended live by 600.  

Project: The Culture of Gardening

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 include amplifying 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.  

  • Website: 18 posts, 1,552 views, 866
  • 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. 

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. 

Master Gardeners join 40th anniversary of OSU’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service exploring the intersection of climate change and social justice

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.


When: Monday, January 17, 2022, 6pm movie, 7:15 pm discussion
Where: Online, via Kinema


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.