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Posts Tagged: volunteers

Dig it, Grow it, Eat it: School gardens support learning and healthier food choices

Different edible parts of plants are on display (roots, stems, flowers, leaves and seeds) for students to have hands-on learning in the garden. (Photo: UC Master Gardener Program Marin County)

The success of a garden is normally identified by plentiful crops of tomatoes and squash or the beautiful display of vibrant thriving flowers, shrubs or trees. However, a school garden's true success is dependent on the rich experiences and education students receive.

Taking the classroom into the garden

School gardens can play a big part in supporting a child's education outside of the traditional classroom environment; offering hands-on learning experiences in a variety of core curricula. Social sciences, language arts, nutrition and math are just a few of the many subjects that can be easily integrated into the school garden curriculum.

When paired with nutrition education, school gardens can transform food attitudes and habits.

“Gardens containing fruits and vegetables can change attitudes about particular foods; there is a direct link between growing and eating more fruits and vegetables,” said Missy Gable, statewide director for the UC Master Gardener Program. “Programs statewide connect people to local community gardens, or provide school administrators and staff the information needed to get started with their own school, community or home garden.” 

UC Master Gardener volunteers in Marin County connect gardening topics to science and nutrition in portable field trips for their award-winning project, "Dig it, Eat it, Grow it." (Photo: UC Master Gardener Program Marin County)

“Dig it, Grow it, Eat it”

The UC Master Gardener Program of Marin County hosts an award-winning school gardening program that emphasizes engaging students with the many learning opportunities in nature. The program is a portable field trip for school-age youth called “Dig it, Grow it, Eat it.”

“Dig it, Grow it, Eat it” starts with University-trained UC Master Gardener volunteers training school educators. Once trained, educators use the curriculum to teach students how to grow edible plants from seed to harvest. UC Master Gardener volunteers help deliver the curriculum and provide additional resources. Students learn how plants grow, and receive nutrition lessons to give them a better understanding of the human body's need for healthy food.

Students learn about healthy soil and the benefits of composting from a UC Master Gardener volunteer during a "Dig it, Eat it, Grow it" school field trip. (Photo: UC Master Gardener Program Marin County)

The half-day workshop rotates groups of students through six stations providing them with garden enhanced nutrition education, linking health with growing and harvesting foods they like to eat and are good for them. These include:

  • Edible Plant Parts
  • How Plants Grow
  • Plant Seed Science
  • Propagation
  • Soil Science

The “Dig it, Grow it, Eat it” curriculum is centered on the theme “We love the earth because we care for it. We care for the earth because we love it.” For many children, getting their hands dirty in the garden and discovering the science of growing their own food brings a sense of joy and pride they can carry with them for years to come. 

Connect with us

The UC Master Gardener Program extends to the public free UC research-based information about home horticulture and pest management. In exchange for the training and materials received from the University of California, UC Master Gardeners perform volunteer services in a myriad of venues. If you are interested in becoming a certified UC Master Gardener contact your local UC Cooperative Extension office or visit


Posted on Wednesday, January 17, 2018 at 11:43 AM
Focus Area Tags: Yard & Garden

Free Public Plant Exchange-October 12

October 12, 2013 is the date; 9AM to noon is the time for the U.C. Master Gardeners annual plant exchange.

If you have not experienced the fun of this free event, this is what you can expect to find. A variety of plants some the Master Gardeners  have propagated, some they and others have brought to exchange for something new  they may want  to add to their gardens. You will also find books on gardening, magazines, pots maybe some garden tools or garden art.

This is a free event; you do not even need to bring anything to exchange to attend. If you have excess flower or vegetable seeds, plants you no longer want, bring them to the exchange. If you are bringing plants or seeds,  please label to identify them as it is very helpful for all that attend. Please no plant in pots over 5 gallons.

For the first 80 participants, there will be available a take home set of pest note cards that help identify pest and how to safely deal with them. Also there is a vegetable planting guide that shows the months that you should plant the vegetables you like, it also show the approximate harvest time.

This year you will have the opportunity to listen to mini talks.

Here is the schedule for these talks.

9:30                         Succulents (and their propagation)

10:15                       Plant propagation (stem cuttings)

11:00                       Fall gift ideas (planting a pumpkin container)

11:30                       How to become a Master Gardener

Stay for as many talks as you would like. Between 9:30 and 11:30 there will be fun activities for kids as well.

The address for the plant exchange is: 501 Texas St. Fairfield, kitty-corner from Armijo High School, the school is located at the corner of Texas and Washington Street.

The parking in front of the office is very limited; there is additional parking across the street. You can access it by Empire Street.

Remember the date Oct 12, 2013 time 9AM to noon for this fun free event. This is a chance to add some new plants to your garden.

Gardeners browsing the variety of plants available. (photo by Jennifer Baumbach)
Gardeners browsing the variety of plants available. (photo by Jennifer Baumbach)

Posted on Tuesday, October 1, 2013 at 8:05 AM

Sunny Sunflowers

Well, I am trying again to grow sunflowers. Here is my result so far. Skinny little bits, hardly a flower at all and very slow incoming. I've thinned out the starts now 3 times, to give the stronger sprouts more space. We'll have to see if they ever take off.

On the other hand here is my volunteer that showed up in the middle of the garden path. Oh well, at least there is one sunflower in the garden.

Sunflower weaklings. (photos by Trisha Rose)
Sunflower weaklings. (photos by Trisha Rose)

Happy volunteer sunflower.
Happy volunteer sunflower.

Posted on Friday, June 22, 2012 at 10:35 AM
Tags: sunflowers (9), volunteers (4), weaklings (1)

Master Gardener Graduation

On Friday, May 11, The Master Gardener Volunteer Program of Solano County graduated its’ 2012 class of Master Gardeners. The setting was apropos, the beautiful gardens at the Buck Mansion.  The atmosphere was filled with an air of both relief and excitement as graduation marks the completion of their 5-month training program combined with their eagerness to blossom into the beginning of their career as Master Gardeners. These newly Certified Master Gardeners are geared to head out into their respective communities and extend horticultural information based on research-based information, verified by UC experts.  Every year, I look forward to this day and make every effort to clear my schedule to attend; however, my intentions are a bit selfish.  To be truthful, my favorite part of the day is catching up with my classmates from 2002 as well as fellow gardeners I have volunteered with over the years.  I really can’t say enough about this wonderful group of people and hearing about how they have branched out and developed their expertise in gardening.  None of this would be possible without our Program Director who provides the stable base from where the program grows, Jennifer Baumbach.  She’s the roots and the trunk that holds everything together.  If you find yourself thinking about becoming a Master Gardener, visit the Master Gardener booth at your local Farmer’s Market.  Talk to us; find out what’s involved…this may be the group for you!

Posted on Monday, May 14, 2012 at 3:28 PM

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