Extension master gardener volunteers contributing to community health and well-being
The Extension Master Gardener (EMG) volunteer program was created in the 1970s for the purpose of meeting a public demand for consumer horticulture information. It is a prominent outreach program of land-grant universities in the US, with direct contact to 8.6 million people in 2018. EMG volunteer service activities include plant diagnostics as well as projects aimed at improving the environment and communities, including projects targeted at specific audiences, such as youth and incarcerated populations. EMG volunteers receive training for working with special audiences and offer projects that address health and well-being through therapeutic horticulture, community gardens, and other projects in communities across the country. Coordinators, most often trained in production or landscape aspects of horticulture, frequently note challenges of connecting with health professionals and working with organizational leadership that does not yet connect horticulture outcomes to health and well-being. This session will put into perspective this grassroots volunteer effort to improve health and well-being through consumer horticulture, sharing perspectives of coordinators incorporating health and well-being elements into consumer horticulture programming.
Dorn, S., Bumgarner, N., Maddox, M., Pennisi, S., Bauske, E., Newberry, M., Relf, D. and Glen, C. (2021). Extension master gardener volunteers contributing to community health and well-being. Acta Hortic. 1330, 185-192
therapeutic horticulture, horticulture therapy, community garden