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).

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.

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/