Last year, across 28 Oregon counties there were 3,323 active OSU Extension Service Master Gardener Volunteers. Here in Bend, we are lucky to have some of the best, including our own NorthWest Crossing Community Garden Master Gardeners. Not only have our Master Gardeners brought knowledge, patience and green thumbs to our garden plots, but they’ve helped ensure the continued success of this important community amenity. And growing food and plants is only part of the success.
In 2013, the OSU Master Gardeners were approached by teachers at the High Desert ESD Headstart Language Development Group which serves 3, 4 and 5 year old students who are learning English as a second language. The teachers wanted to give their students a garden tour and help educate them about gardening and plant growth. The following year, the team planned ahead so that the students were able to plant their own beans and potaties, watch them grow harvest them in the fall.
Louise Gaston, OSU Master Gardener Volunteer, said, “This was a great language experience for these children. One boy had spoken almost no spontaneous English since beginning the class. While harvesting the potatoes, he used only English to talk about the potatoes he found. All the students went home with potatoes and beans for dinner.”
She continued, “We have already planned to continue this program. It is as much fun for the Master Gardeners as it is for the students!” The students planted their vegetables earlier this month and will come back in fall when school starts again to harvest.
This program with Headstart was highlighted in the OSU Master Gardeners Annual Report, and may even eventually be implemented in other areas.
Our community garden has every plot spoken for in 2016, but if you are interested in learning more please visit our garden page at: http://www.northwestcrossing.com/activities/community-garden/