Article by UF/IFAS Extension Broward County Horticulture Extension Agent: Lorna Bravo
Did you know that In 2019, UF/IFAS Extension Broward County Master Gardener Program received the 2019 Master Gardener Legacy Grant award?
This award recognizes the importance of urban agriculture education, with an emphasis on educating Broward County teachers on implementing urban agriculture initiatives through UF/IFAS Extension’s Master Gardener education program for community and school urban garden efforts.
The Master Gardener Legacy Award
The Master Gardener Legacy Fund was created to provide financial support to Master Gardener programs throughout Florida. Florida counties can apply annually to receive grants for new or continuing educational projects. The UF/IFAS Florida Statewide Master Gardener Volunteer Coordinator and a review committee will be awarding a project. To read more about the Master Gardener Legacy award grant, you can visit http://gardeningsolutions.ifas.ufl.edu/mastergardener/legacy/
Broward County and The Garden Project
UF/IFAS Extension Broward County Master Gardeners began a 1/4 acre Master Gardener Demonstration Vegetable Garden (“the Garden”) in May 2018. The team’s mission is to use “the Garden” as an educational outreach that demonstrates solutions to the unique growing condition of urban Broward County. Broward County’ is the second-most populous county in Florida. The eastern third is fully developed. The marsh of the central Everglades spans its western two-thirds. Most of the older residential properties span, “less-than-a-quarter acre.” New developments produce stacks of houses on zero-lot-line plots as buildable land is becoming scarce.
The county sits on mainly sand-covered limestone or back-fill rubble that offer little organic nutrients and high porosity. Surface water and rainfall seem plentiful in South Florida, but upon closer examination, water consumption likely outpaces water retention at times during the year. Water quality fluctuates as well with location and month. The need for fresh locally grown produce is evident in the number of community gardens, urban farms, and green markets that developed in the last ten years. Yet, these ventures cover a relatively small footprint within our urban sprawl
UF/IFAS Extension Broward County Train the Trainer’s Program
As the demand for trained farmers increases in our society in the coming years, the foundations that teachers lay in the minds of their students about sustainable food production are invaluable. This mindfulness may contribute not only to personal food production among the urban population but also to the awareness of the need for sustainable agriculture in small and large operations. Teacher’s erudition touches every part of our future workforce, including prospective growers and farmers. For this reason, the MG Garden Team is developing the “Train the Trainers” program. Teachers are valuable influencers of Broward County’s youth, instructing and leading over 270,000 students in one of the US’s largest school districts.
Train the Trainers” project endeavors to provide free workshops in sustainable urban food production to Broward County’s educators and residents. UF/IFAS Extension Broward County Master Gardeners are leveraging these gardens to focus educational efforts on a “Train the Trainers” program for Broward County teachers in 2020. UF/IFAS Extension Broward County and UF Fort Lauderdale Research Center (FLREC’s) are offering a new six-week workshop on sustainable Urban Agriculture program every year. The Garden project provides the ideal venue to demonstrate UF research-based and tested methods that teachers can adapt to create viable and fruitful school gardens. UF/IFAS Extension Broward County Master Gardener Volunteers want to develop a classroom-ready lecture that teachers can use with their students.
The Florida Master Gardener Legacy Fund will provide the additional funds needed to expand the Garden project. The project will add grow bags and Earthbox™ systems. These new systems will show urban homeowners and teachers how they can grow veggies in their yards, schools, and community gardens. Broward County MGVs are empowering residents to grow, consume, and purchase locally grown produce, and create productive green spaces.
The Florida Master Gardener Volunteer Program
The Master Gardener volunteers are actively serving Florida residents. They serve through volunteering with the Florida Cooperative Extension Service. Florida Master Gardener Volunteers is a title granted by the University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS). Master Gardener Volunteer training course and the required volunteer hours are essential to become UF/IFAS Extension Master Gardener Volunteers. The principal purpose of this program is to train volunteers. UF/IFAS Extension Master Volunteers will educate the public on how to solve their landscape, water, plant nutrition, and pest problems.
Are you Interested in becoming UF/IFAS Extension Broward County Master Gardener Volunteer?
Visit us at UF/IFAS Extension Broward County at 3241 College Avenue, Davie, Florida 33314. (954) 756-8519. Contact: Lorna Bravo at firstname.lastname@example.org
The mission of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is to develop knowledge relevant to agricultural, human and natural resources. The mission is to make that knowledge available to sustain and enhance the quality of human life. UF/IFAS Extension has more than a dozen research facilities. It has 67 county Extension offices and award-winning students and faculty in the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. UF/IFAS works to bring science-based solutions to the state’s agricultural and natural resources industries, and all Florida residents. Visit the UF/IFAS web site at ifas.ufl.edu and follow us on social media at @UF_IFAS.