FAIRFIELD — Missy Gable wants you to know about the local Master Gardener program.
She is the new coordinator for the statewide Master Gardener program overseen by the University of California Cooperative Extension. Volunteer master gardeners help spread university information on gardening through events, a hot line and other means.
Gable met Monday with more than 30 local master gardeners at the Solano County Agricultural Department building. She told them the program needs to have a greater presence in the social media, such as YouTube videos showing gardening demonstrations.
“We need the general public to say, ‘I know what the Master Gardeners is and I know how it’s benefitting me,’ ” Gable said.
She is making the rounds to various Master Gardener programs to hear local remarks. She was in San Bernardino County last week.
“My goal in going around to the different counties is that we never have to be strangers,” Gable said.
Solano County has 110 volunteer master gardeners. The county budget said they provided about 4,000 hours of educational programming and 5,000 direct contacts with the public from July 2012 through June 2013.
Having a higher-profile program statewide would help with Gable’s goal to establish an endowment for the program that would provide $2 million annually. This would help pay for coordinators and other expenses that are subject to the budget fortunes of the state and various counties.
Gable acknowledged this is an ambitious goal that would take years to realize.
Solano County provides about $220,000 annually for various U.C. Cooperative Extension programs, including the Master Gardener. During 2010 budget hearings, the board considered cuts that the proposed budget said would likely eliminate the local Master Gardener program. Supervisors decided against making the cuts, even though the county faced a multimillion-dollar deficit.
Several local master gardeners told Gable they would like to do a program on growing food. Gable called this “edible landscaping” – the idea that plants grown for food can also be decorative.
Among the upcoming events by the Master Gardener program is a public plant exchange from 9 a.m. to noon Oct. 12 at 501 Texas St. in Fairfield. People can bring plants they have grown in pots five gallons and smaller and take home plants. They can hear a 9:30 a.m. talk on succulents, a 10:25 a.m. talk on plant propagation, an 11 a.m. talk on gift ideas and an 11:30 a.m. talk on how to become a master gardener.
Call 784-1321 for more information.
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.