Florida Master Gardener Structure
The University of Florida/IFAS Cooperative Extension Service (“UF/IFAS Extension”) oversees the State of Florida’a Master Gardener program. The Master Gardener program trains and maintains horticulture volunteers for UF/IFAS Extension throughout the State of Florida. The goals of this program are to increase the availability of horticultural information for the community at large and to improve the quality of life for the residents of each county in Florida through horticulture volunteer activities.
UF/IFAS Extension does not require Florida counties to have the Master Gardener program. Rather, each individual count Extension office determines the focus and structure of the program. The volunteers (or MGs as they call themselves) execute a variety of outreach tasks as determined by the county coordinator (usually the consumer horticultural agent). Duties are quite varied and can include: answering horticultural questions over the phone or through the media; participating in public service projects, giving educational programs, supporting youth activities, assisting in field research, and other activities. The ultimate end to all these activities is to extend the vision of UF/IFAS Extension — protecting and sustaining natural resources and environmental systems, enhancing the development of human resources, and improving the quality of human life through the development of knowledge in agricultural, human and natural resources and making that knowledge accessible.
As stated above, each county Master Gardener coordinator determines the structure of that county’s Master Gardener program. A formal Master Gardener organization is not required. If your county already has a structured organization or you develop one later, the following guiding principles must be followed. Additional requirements may be added with the approval of the county coordinator and state Master Gardener coordinator so long as such requirements do not vary or override the required principles. If a county’s Master Gardener organization forms or has formed a non-profit corporation to carry out the mission of the organization, such guiding principles shall be incorporated into the corporation’s organizational documents (i.e., articles of incorporation and by-laws). Additionally, the organizational documents shall include additional provisions relating to the county Extension office’s oversight and authority over the corporation and such organizational documents and amendments thereto shall be subject to approval of the county coordinator, state Master Gardener coordinator, the county Extension director and the appropriate district director.