BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. – Like to dabble in your community, church, or school gardens? Like giving your neighbor a helping hand on how to grow herbs, vegetables, and fruit? Interested in urban sustainable food systems, Florida-Friendly Landscaping, and water conservation?
Then the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Master Gardener Volunteer (MGV) program at Extension Broward County is the place for you.
Applications for one of the most popular Master Gardener Volunteer training programs in the state is now available online. Deadline to apply is Monday, January 4, 2021, with interviews taking place in January and classes for the 2021 MGV training program starting in February. For the first time, a scholarship program has been designed for interested participants who might not otherwise be able to financially pay the complete cost of the training fee.
UF/IFAS Extension, Broward County MGV program fees are $475 with $200 being refunded once participants complete the training and have provided 75 hours of MGV work in the first year. While the scholarship provides $275 toward the total fee, the scholarship recipient is required to provide a good faith deposit of $200. Once the scholarship participant completes the training and meets the 75-hour volunteer requirement during the first year, scholarship recipients are refunded their $200 deposit resulting in the class being zero cost.
For the second year in a row, the program will be conducted virtually with two classes a week for 16 weeks. Hands-on projects, reading assignments and demonstrations are held online making the program easy for participants to engage.
“Our MGV training engages participants with proven research that positively impacts the second-most populous county in Florida,” said Lorna Bravo, director at UF/IFAS Extension Broward. “In 2019, the UF/IFAS Extension Broward County MGV Program received the Master Gardener Legacy Grant award. This award recognizes the importance of our Broward County program initiatives on urban horticulture education. UF/IFAS Extension Broward County could not get the message out as far as we do without the passion and expertise of our Master Gardener volunteers.”
The rapid urban growth in many areas of the United States coupled with increased interest in the environment and home gardening have prompted ever-increasing numbers of homeowner questions to county Extension service agents. While many of these questions are seasonal in nature and are relatively easily answered assuming that one has horticultural training, MGV serve a critical role in urban communities like Broward.
MGV members not only help Broward residents grow fruit trees, herbs and vegetables in community gardens and schools, they help develop Florida-Friendly edible landscapes to combat food insecurities and teach future generations how to grow food in urban environments. They also help conduct citizen science activities like Bioblitz missions in Broward County parks by participating in invasive plant removals and documenting species occurrence in support of biodiversity.
“In some cases, MGV assist with native tree giveaways while helping to cultivate native orchids in Broward County yards. MGV participants also engage as water ambassadors to assist homeowners with their Florida-Friendly Landscaping efforts and educate them on how to avoid landscape maintenance decisions that can profoundly impact Florida’s Environment.
“By joining the UF/IFAS Extension Broward County MGV program you will be participating in urban horticulture, as well as learning about commercial horticulture, food and consumer sciences, and 4-H programs,” said Bravo.
For more information and questions about the Master Gardener Volunteer training, contact Anthony Gross at Anthony.Gross@ufl.edu at 954-756-8525.
By: Lourdes Rodriguez, 954-577-6363 office, 954-242-8439 mobile, firstname.lastname@example.org
The mission of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) is to develop knowledge relevant to agricultural, human, and natural resources and to make that knowledge available to sustain and enhance the quality of human life. With more than a dozen research facilities, 67 county Extension offices, and award-winning students and faculty in the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, UF/IFAS brings science-based solutions to the state’s agricultural and natural resources industries and all Florida residents.