Organic Gardening Educational Materials for Extension Master Gardener Volunteers

Thursday, July 25, 2013: 8:45 AM
Desert Salon 9-10 (Desert Springs J.W Marriott Resort )
Aimee A. Rankin , North Carolina State University, Wadesboro, NC
Lucy K. Bradley , Horticulture, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC
David B. Orr , Entomology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC
Frank J. Louws , NC State University, Raleigh, NC
Horticulture Agents in North Carolina supervising Extension Master Gardener Volunteer (EMGV) programs were surveyed to identify their need for additional training materials on Organic Gardening as well as their preference for format and content of materials.  In a 65% response rate, North Carolina Extension agents, managing 33 of the 51 active EMGV counties, 47% reported daily or weekly requests for organic/sustainable consumer horticulture information and 53% reported monthly requests. The survey outcome revealed a strong preference to provide value-added content within the current curriculum and products. In addition, State Extension Master Gardener Coordinators across the country were surveyed to identify the structure of their advanced training programs for volunteers. Twenty states have advanced certification in their EMGV program and the survey documented that the design and structure of advanced certification differs in each state in order to meet the needs of volunteers, the public, and extension programs. Based on the results of these two surveys, a chapter on Organic Gardening was created for the NC-EMGV Manual.  It includes sections on organic management of top disease, weed, and insect pests of ornamentals, lawns, and vegetable gardens.