Feds Feed Families. Again

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Feds Feed Families. Again.

Gary Oppenheimer is the Founder and Executive Director of AmpleHarvestorg

Gary Oppenheimer is the Founder and Executive Director of AmpleHarvestorg

Most of us encounter food drives at our house of worship, school, place of employment or even at a community event. We go to a store to buy something or reach into the kitchen cupboard to get something already bought – and then it’s donated.

How many people participate in that local food drive? A few dozen? A few hundred?

What do you think of a food drive that reached out to more than 2.7 million people?

Pretty awesome?

For the second year, AmpleHarvest.org is an integral part of Uncle Sam’s food drive: Feds Feed Families.

Government employees from all across America are being encouraged to help their hungry neighbors by donating food, and like last year, those who are gardeners, are again being invited to share their harvest bounty with a nearby food pantry.

FFFAmpleHarvest.org’s involvement in Feds Feed Families was assisted last year both by First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! office as well as Congresswoman Pingree from Maine.

Why a congresswoman from Maine would get involved? Because even in a state with a shorter than normal growing season, AmpleHarvest.org can help. According to Rep. Pingree, “AmpleHarvest.org has already made it possible for millions of pounds of fresh, locally grown and harvest food to make its way to food pantries that help families struggling to put a meal on the table.  This collaboration with the federal government and millions of public employees is going to make it possible for even more Americans to have access to fresh vegetables and fruits, grown and donated by their neighbors. I’m thrilled that this common-sense partnership is going to happen.”

Thanks to AmpleHarvest.org’s partnership with Feds Fed Families, the scope of someone’s donation is not limited by the depth of their pocketbook but by the size of the garden the length of their growing season, and their desire for a better America.

If you know of someone working for Uncle Sam, please send them the AmpleHarvest.org FFF Guide so they can learn how their garden bounty can contribute to a big food drive.

A really big one.

 

Make Every Day, Earth Day – AmpleHarvest.org

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Make every day, Earth Day with AmpleHarvest.org!Earth Day!

You might be deeply concerned about the environment – especially the waste stream and global warming.

Or you might be very concerned about the waste of food or in America.

Wouldn’t it be great if working to solve one also helped to solve the other?

Read on.

While one out of every six Americans do not have enough food to feed their families, more than 42 million American backyard gardeners grow food in home gardens, often more than they can use, preserve to give to friends.

Some let the excess rot in the garden, some compost it and some simply throw it in the trash. This waste is bad for the health of America and it’s bad for the health of the planet.

The EPA now considers wasted food a major environmental problem. Excess produce thrown into the garbage not only adds to our waste stream problems, it also releases methane into the atmosphere … a global warming gas with twenty times the impact of CO2.

AmpleHarvest.org educates, encourages and enables America’s gardeners to find a local food pantry eager for their excess harvest. The donated bounty not only helps to diminish hunger in the community, it also reduces the waste stream, the carbon footprint of the food distributed by the pantry as well as methane emissions from trash dumps.

Your support of AmpleHarvest.org helps the people and the planet.
How often do you come across a solution for two separate problems?

Join the millions of gardeners across the country using AmpleHarvest.org to share their bounty with their neighbors in need by clicking here.

AmpleHarvest.org helps you make every day, Earth Day.

Easter Basket Blessings

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Easter Basket Blessings

Leanne Mazurick, Food Pantry Outreach Coordinator at AmpleHarvest.org

Leanne Mazurick, Food Pantry Outreach Coordinator at AmpleHarvest.org

Holidays and celebrations usually revolve around some type of food or meal shared with friends, family and loved ones. I have many fond memories of sharing special meals and holiday traditions with my family. One particular tradition that I enjoyed being a part of was the blessing of the Easter baskets on Holy Saturday. Families would bring their traditional Easter foods in baskets and line the aisles with them to be blessed by the priest. Our family has Polish and Slovak roots, so our basket contained: Pascha bread, kielbasa, ham, bacon, red beets with horse radish, hard boiled eggs, salt and of course a little butter lamb – each item having traditional significance in connection to the celebration of Easter. The delicious smell in the church from everyone’s homemade food is still something I can easily remember! The blessing of the baskets was a celebration of food and community – a time of rejoicing after fasting during Lent. (I gave up food waste for Lent this year. Read more about that here).

I’m sure when you think back on times you’ve gathered with others during holidays or events, you can easily recall a special meal you shared. Food has a way of uniting us. Yet, according to Feeding America, 49.1 million Americans live in food insecure homes, including 16 million children. For many reasons, these families are unsure of where their next meal will come from.

Screen shot 2014-03-06 at 4.22.49 PMSo as you prepare to gather with your friends and family to celebrate Easter, please remember that some folks aren’t blessed with a basket full of food this holiday. If you find yourself with an abundance of unopened food or extra vegetables that will you will be unable to use, please find a food pantry near you and help your neighbors in need. Or you can make a beautiful centerpiece for your table–maybe a basket of fresh fruits and vegetables–that you can then donate to your local food pantry after you’ve enjoyed it during your Easter meal. It will bless two tables, and help feel hungry families in your community. Read more about our Centerpieces for Food Pantries campaign here. Happy Easter!

Passover: All Who Are Hungry, Come and Eat!

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Passover: All Who are Hungry, Come and Eat!

Etta Einschlag is the Administrative Coordinator at AmpleHarvest.org

Hi, this is Etta Einschlag, AmpleHarvest.org’s new Administrative Manager.  I wanted to share my thoughts with you as I get ready to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Passover which is on Friday, April 3rd this year.  Passover commemorates our freedom from slavery in ancient Egypt, and the miracles that made that possible.  We begin the celebration with a Passover seder – a traditional service including rituals, story-telling, and feasting.

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Last year, at my Passover seder, one particular line stood out to me:  “All who are hungry, come and eat!”  Sounds like a wonderful invitation, but this line is in the middle of the story-telling portion of the seder.  We had already drank a cup of wine, washed our hands, eaten fresh greens, broken the middle matza, and started talking about the meaning of Passover.  Just who were we going to get to join our seder in the middle??  On a rare occasion, a poor stranger actually hears this declaration and pops in, but we can’t all be that lucky.

Traditional Passover foods, clockwise from top: matza, parsley, horseradish, haroset (a dip made with apples and wine).

Traditional Passover foods, clockwise from top: matza, parsley, horseradish, haroset (a dip made with apples and wine).

Story-telling is arguably the most important part of the Passover seder.  Each line is chalk full of lessons:  What we went through and what is our purpose in the world today.  The Passover story is about the journey from slavery to freedom, and what that journey means.  The Sages teach us that not only did we each personally become free on the night of the first Passover, but that we must again make the journey from slavery to freedom each year on that night.  The declaration “All who are hungry, come and eat!” is a reminder that even while there is a feast in front of us, our neighbors are hungry.  Our journey to freedom must include our neighbors.  We can never truly be free until each and every one of us is food secure.

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A fresh food centerpiece made by Jen Hubbell @uprootny

 

As we approach the Passover season, we must keep in mind these people in need.  Don’t wait for that line to be your wake-up call.  Make plans to help!  The best thing that you can do is actually invite people in need to join with you in the seder.  Of course, logistically, that is not always easy.  Fortunately, AmpleHarvest.org has a wonderful solution!  Join our Centerpieces for Pantries campaign this Passover:  Instead of buying flowers (that will wither and die), to be your centerpiece, buy (or arrange) a beautiful basket of fresh fruits and vegetables that you can then donate to your local food pantry.  How wonderful will it be when you get to that line in the story, and you can actually say – look, right there on our table, we are helping those who are hungry!

Happy Passover!

Amaryllis to the Rescue – Master Gardener Field Trip

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Amaryllis to the Rescue – Master Gardener Field Trip

By Emily Fulmer, Grower Outreach Coordinator at AmpleHarvest.org
This is the third post in a series that documents my journey through the Memphis Area Master Gardener training program.  You can read my earlier posts here and here. And you can read more about Master Gardeners in the US here.

Yesterday was cold and dark and rainy–NOT a great day for a field trip–but my fellowAmaryllis window  master gardeners in training I and bundled up and had our class at a local botanic garden. We met at the Dixon Gallery and Gardens which is an art gallery inside a historic mansion home with 17 acres of grounds in the heart of Memphis, TN.

For me, this class has been all about learning to plant, grow and protect plants from pests so that I can become an expert at growing food gardens and helping others do the same. (My heart nearly broke when the Vegetable Gardening class was postponed because of inclement weather!) But I’ve been consistently surprised by how ALL of the topics have gotten me interested. Turf grass, weeds, and even ornamentals offer something new and exciting.

So with an open mind, I headed over to the the Dixon where I knew there were some beautiful cut flower gardens in the Spring, some immaculately designed formal gardens and woody areas.  The snow in Memphis had just thawed so I figured we’d be trudging through the mud having to rely on our imaginations to envision the beauty that is to come (there are over 100,000 tulips bulbs in the ground, for example!).  Well, it was dark, and it was muddy, and there wasn’t much if anything in bloom, but the greenhouse was FULL of dozens of varieties of Amaryllis and it just about took my breath away.

I can’t even describe it, you can see for yourself with these pictures I snapped with my phone (see below).

I’m still on the edge of my seat waiting for the make-up class on vegetable gardening, but those flowers. Wow. It was the first spot of color I’ve seen in months and I think that might just tide me over until Spring gets here.

amaryllis greenhouse  amaryllis 3

amaryllis 2

amaryllis 1

Giving up Food Waste for Lent

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Giving up Food Waste for Lent

by Leanne Mazurik, Food Pantry Outreach Coordinator at AmpleHarvest.org
Leanne Mazurick, Food Pantry Outreach Coordinator at AmpleHarvest.org

Leanne Mazurick, Food Pantry Outreach Coordinator at AmpleHarvest.org

We’re two weeks into the season of Lent – A time of introspection, prayer and fasting for Christians. During this time, many people choose to “give-up” something for Lent like sweets, a favorite food or drink, etc. I always struggle with the idea of “giving-up” something for Lent. To me, it seems insignificant when I use this time for personal reflection and contemplation – I always think, “I should/could do more than not eat chocolate for 40 days!”

However, this year I’ve come to embrace the idea of “giving something up” and I hope whatever your religious beliefs are, you’ll join me and “give something up” too – not only during this time of year, but throughout the entire year. I’m talking about giving up wasting food! According to Jonathan Bloom, author of American Wasteland, American’s waste enough food to fill the 90,000 seat Rose Bowl Stadium every day! That’s an incredible amount of food being wasted each day. And with 1 in 6 American’s living in food insecure situations, it’s hard to wrap your mind around why all that food is ending up in a landfill. Much of this wasted food is still consumable – think produce nearing the end of its shelf life that is still perfectly fine to eat, misshapen fruits and vegetables that don’t meet our “standards” for what produce should look like that never makes it to the grocery store, and perfectly good items that have confusing “sell by/use by” dates that get tossed, but don’t necessarily mean the food is spoiled.

shutterstock_174892865Even though it’s daunting to think about so much food going to waste, we can individually and collectively make simple changes in our lives that would reduce the amount of food that gets wasted. Simple things like meal planning, creatively using leftovers, checking the back of your fridge for items that might go unnoticed or unused and moving them to the front so they don’t get forgotten about and of course, if you have an abundance of food that you can’t use in time – find a nearby food pantry that would be more than happy to share your abundance with those in need. www.AmpleHarvest.org/findpantry  Our friends at Sustainable America just put out these great tips and we also have our own Top 5 Tips for Reducing Food Waste at Home that can be wonderful resources if you’re looking for more ways to “give-up” wasting food.

Other than during Lent, you don’t hear much about “giving up” on anything in our society, but one thing is for sure – giving up on throwing out perfectly good food is the kind of “giving up” I can get behind…not just during Lent, but throughout the entire year!

Black History Month 2015

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Gary Oppenheimer is the Founder and Executive Director of AmpleHarvestorg

Gary Oppenheimer is the Founder and Executive Director of AmpleHarvestorg

Black History Month Becomes Personal
by Gary Oppenheimer

I’m a child of the 60’s. The Vietnam War, women’s rights, civil rights, hippies, rock and roll – the list goes on and on.

In my family, my mother actively worked with the Yonkers Fair Housing committee to help assure that African American families seeking housing were not subject to discrimination by landlords wanting only “the right” people. The country struggled with moving away from what America had (at times reluctantly) offered to what America had promised. For some, that struggle continues.

As part of this transition, our school curriculum was expanded to include studies on African American history and out of that came my fascination with George Washington Carver – a man born a slave approximately 87 years before I was born (his exact birth year is not clear) and ending up with a Master’s Degree at Iowa State University. He subsequently led the agriculture department at the Tuskegee Institute from where he help to revive and revolutionize cotton, peanut, soy and sweet potato farming.

george_washington_carverHis life story is incredible and truly inspirational, but one thing about his story that has really impressed me is what he saw in the lowly peanut.

At that time, most people thought about peanuts as a snack food, a key ingredient of making peanut butter, something to feed to animals at the zoo, maybe something to throw at that girl with the long pigtails to get her attention (there are of course much better ways of doing that) or simply something that helps to fix nitrogen to the soil.

George Washington Carver looked at this same peanut (along with soybeans, pecans and sweet potatoes that he also studied) but started thinking outside of the box and saw opportunity that others never bothered to look for.

Carver found 300 ways (click on the link – it’s worth the read) to use the peanut. To him, it was a tiny collection of ingredients needed to make things – some of which became critical to our war effort in World War II – like adhesives, bleach, instant coffee (ok… everyone has a bad idea from time to time), shaving cream, paint and stains, bio fuel, and a lot more.

The man who was born into slavery ultimately revived a failing segment of America’s cotton growing industry, helped our war effort, and inspired one child of the 60’s to think outside of the box.

GEORGE_WASHINGTON_CARVER_-_ONE_OF_AMERICA'S_GREAT_SCIENTISTS_-_NARA_-_535694It is not often that you get to “touch” a childhood hero, but that’s exactly what’s going to happen to me in April. I have been invited to speak at Tuskegee University at the “George Washington Carver Lecture Series” because “…with the global food demands on the rise, it will take everyone to ensure that there is ‘enough’ … [and] thinking … outside of the box, such as you have done, to adequately address this issue.”

While I have quite a few speaking engagements this year around the country, none of them will be quite as exciting on a personal level as this one will be. February is Black History Month and I hope that the story of George Washington Carver will inspire you, as it does me, to think outside of the box to find ways to make our world a better one–to look for solutions to our world’s biggest problems in even the smallest of places (or peanuts). 

Volunteers In Action

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Volunteers in Action

          With more than 7,150 pantries registered on AmpleHarvest.org, we know there are a lot of dedicated men and women who donate their time to assist in the daily operations of food pantries, soup kitchens, homeless shelters and other non-profit agencies, across the United States.                           For this blog post, we are highlighting Rebecca Taylor, a recent college graduate from King’s College, PA, who is in the midst of a yearlong service commitment at Andre House – a homeless shelter in Phoenix, Arizona. Andre House is registered on AmpleHarvest.org and we thought it would be great to hear from a volunteer who is working on the front lines each day to help those in need. (If you would like to recommend a volunteer or someone we should spotlight for our next Volunteers in Action blog post, please email me at: Leanne@AmpleHarvest.org)   Below are some questions we asked Becca about her experience at Andre House.

Andre House is registered on AmpleHarvest.org – can you tell us about Andre House, who/how many people you serve and the services provided by Andre House in the Phoenix area?

Becca Sorting Food

Rebecca Taylor, a recent college graduate from King’s College, PA, who is in the midst of a yearlong service commitment at Andre House – a homeless shelter in Phoenix, Arizona.

 

Andre House is a house of hospitality for the poor and homeless in central Phoenix. As a house of hospitality, we have an open door policy in which we provide people with the basic needs one would have in a home. Our hospitality services include the clothing closet, laundry, showers, office, lockers, boot vouchers, and the soup line.

To be a little more descriptive, we see around 150 people through the clothes closet each week, in which we provide clothing for the guests, at their own will, free of charge. We provide showers and toiletries to our guests 5 days a week. In the office, we hand out basic first-aid, toiletries, vitamins, etc. Guests can also make phones calls and send out mail. Our most known service is the soup line. Andre House serves dinner 6 nights a week, serving approximately 550-650 meals each night.

How did you find out about Andre House? What guided your decision to volunteer for a year at Andre House?

I found Andre House through the service learning department, The Shoval Center for Community Engagement and Learning, at King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, PA. I came to Andre House last January on a WinterSERVE trip, a week-long alternative break trip which emerges students in social justice, service, community, and culture.

A major factor in my decision to come to Andre house was the community. I was graduating college and was trying to figure out what was next for me. I was looking to apply all that I had learned in school and to go out and find a place for myself where I could work towards the common good, which means first finding a loving, intentional community. I found that at Andre House.

St Andre ShelfBefore you even get your hands dirty, just talking to the dedicated volunteers who have helped out Andre House for so many years makes you fall in love with the place. Another bid to community is going back after dinner and sitting around a table together, eating the meal we served.

Another part is being so connected to humanity. You no longer see someone as “homeless” and with all the barriers and generalizations that entails, but rather you see someone as the person they are, a person that needs some help.

 

 

Let’s talk nutrition – do you get a lot of fresh produce donations? How have you witnessed the impacts of nutrition (or lack of nutrition) with the folks you assist? Do you think access to fresh produce makes a difference to those who rely on food assistance?

Nutrition! This is a big deal to me. I will start by explaining the meal set up at Andre House. Most of our produce and dairy comes from St. Mary’s Food Bank. Monday-Friday, first thing we do in the morning is go to the food bank and pick-up anywhere from 500-1,000+ pounds of produce, dairy and bread. The food bank is hit or miss. I would say usually it is good, occasionally exceptional, meaning there are some really nice surprises, such vegetables and fruit that have not already started to turn and occasionally there are some organic choices. Not having to dig through slimy lettuce, especially enough containers to get enough for 500+ meals, is always a treat.

I would say there is a good variety, for the most part, but it is more about salvaging what is there. We have a salad and desert, which is usually fruit or yogurt. We do find some organic produce, organic eggs and milks which is always nice. That said, I am so thankful for Saint Mary’s. I also like that we are using food that would otherwise go to waste.St. Andre warehouse

A lot of the donations we see are usually get are dry goods, canned food, and a LOT of deserts. We do get some healthier grains, and organic products, but I would say a majority seems to be canned foods, and quick and easy carbs. As I sort through our food to give to other organizations for food boxes, it seems to be all food I would never eat. A lot of Ramen noodles and instant noodle meals and other processed foods that I would never put in my body, and I wish it weren’t that way. Don’t get me wrong, I am extremely grateful for donations! I think we could do a better job at educating people about donating food. I know when we would have can drives at school when I was younger, I would usually root through the cupboards and grab soup that didn’t appeal to me, not much thought other than that, but now that I am on the other end of that operation, I find myself getting a little frustrated at what we are giving to families that need food assistance.

Managing my diet has been of my biggest struggles while I have been here. When you are eating what’s available, you realize what’s available is not very healthy, at least by my standards, especially for the poor and homeless. The challenge is finding food high in calories that is healthy, and non-perishable. I think our meals at Andre House are exceptional. We always have a fruit and vegetable, and we prepare all of our food ourselves, but we only are able to serve dinner.

Is there a fresh fruit or vegetable item that is most requested or needed for your food pantry?

I would say squash and tomato and peppers are staples at Andre House. We makes sure we always have potatoes, onions, carrots and celery. I would always welcome more fresh produce. When we get enough, usually 50-100+ pounds depending on what it is, we can serve a vegetable side dish which is always nice.Having the ability to have a garden and (2)

What would you say are the most common misconceptions about people who find themselves in a situation where they need food assistance?

            One misconception I hear time after time would be that people remain in poverty in order to receive free government assistance. Another gripe I hear is that people receiving food assistance should only be able to buy certain foods, mainly generic brands. Why can’t they buy organic? There are a lot of reasons people are on food assistance and this is my opinion, but regardless the circumstance, no one wants to have to rely on someone else for food.

What would you like to say to gardeners who have an abundance in their garden but aren’t sure if their donations would make a difference?

Having the ability to have a garden and grow your own food is a gift, but it is an even greater gift when you can share your bounty with others. Too me, it is just like cooking. I always enjoy cooking for people more than myself and I think the same about providing the others with nourishment, especially too those in need. No matter what the size, anything can make a difference. One apple or cucumber, or whatever it may be, is healthy nutrients that will only help someone. Whether it’s one person you can assist or 100, the size doesn’t matter, it’s that one apple that can help someone, and maybe even give them the energy to help others.

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We would like to thank everyone who volunteers their time and energy at local food pantries in communities across the United States. If you’d like to volunteer your time by assisting AmpleHarvest.org and our mission to connect gardeners who have excess produce to share with local food pantries, please following this link to find out how: www.AmpleHarvest.org/local

And finally, we often talk about food pantries on AmpleHarvest.org, but any agency that falls under these three categories can register on our site so gardeners with excess produce can connect with them.

  1. The agency is a non-profit
  2. The agency distributes food for free to those in need in their community
  3. The agency is located in the United States

Agencies meeting these requirements, can register for free here: www.AmpleHarvest.org/register or a faxable form can be requested by emailing Food Pantry Outreach Coordinator: Leanne@AmpleHarvest.org

 

 

 

Humus and Pimento Cheese – TN Master Gardener Training

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Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 3.44.17 PMWhat do we want? PORE SPACE?  How do we get it? HUMUS!

This, I’m sure, is the official cheer for Master Gardeners. We had a hootin’ and hollerin’ good time during the third Tennessee Master Gardener training class–which was all about soil and plant nutrition. Last week we had a great speaker on landscape design and, as you can imagine, there were lots of lovely pictures to ooh and ahh over. So, when I sat down to do my homework for this week about dirt, I was a little worried that the honeymoon was over and it was time for the really boring classes to start. I’m not a scientist and I literally cannot remember a single thing from high school biology. Reading about minerals and soil amendments and the science of decomposition was proving to be a bit of a challenge (it probably didn’t help that my “reading partner” was drooling all over the pages). I was starting to think that this was going to be too hard.

Baby Holding the Textbook

Here’s my reading partner. She’s really into dirt right now too.

I was wrong. Soil is awesome and SO not boring.  Our instructor this week will go down in history for being the first person to make dirt interesting and will forever be credited with crafting our official MG cheer. It’s all about pore space, y’all. Get that organic matter decomposed (humus), feed those micro-organisms, and BAM you’ve got pore space in your soil to hold the water, air and nutrients your plants need to grow. Okay, it’s not exactly that simple or the class would have been 5 minutes instead of three hours, but you get the idea.

So far I’ve come away from every class feeling like I’ve learned a LOT of really helpful information, and with the desire to keep learning more!  It was a really great decision to start the journey to becoming a Master Gardener in Tennessee. You know what else is awesome about training to become an MG in Tennessee? Someone always brings a tub of killer pimento cheese for snack time. Oh, and donuts…lots of donuts.

What do we want? PORE SPACE (and pimento cheese)! How do we get it? HUMUS (and show up next week because that’s just how we roll here)!

This is the second post in a series on becoming a Master Gardener, by AmpleHarvest.org’s Grower Outreach Coordinator, Emily Fulmer. Read the first post here.

TN Extension Master Gardener in Training

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TN Extension Master Gardener in Training

by Emily Fulmer, Grower Outreach Coordinator at AmpleHarvest.org

Jack (or Jane, really) of all trades, master of none. That’s how I’ve often described myself. I grow a vegetable garden, I keep some chickens, I play musical instruments, I’m raising a couple of kids, I can check the oil and change the tires on my car, but I would never claim to be an expert in any of these areas. Most of the time I feel like I’m just trying to make sure everyone survives the day.

IMG_6486In the coming year, I hope to change that to Jane of all trades–master of ONE. I’ve just embarked on the journey to becoming coming a Master Gardener! (Not sure what a Master Gardener is? Read my earlier post about it here). I went to my first class yesterday at the Shelby County, Tennessee Agricultural Extension office with about 60 other eager “wannabe” MGs. Each was handed a green tote bag with the Tennessee Extension Master Gardener Handbook–or as I think I’m going to call it the TN gardening bible.  This thing is HUGE, and as we each stood up to introduce ourselves to the class, it was all I could do to keep myself from cracking it open to start reading.

IMG_6497The introductions, though they took a long time, were pretty incredible. Most of my classmates are retired or almost retired, and I’m pretty sure my kids are younger than all of their grandkids…but no one tried to pinch my cheeks or anything. What struck me was how many of them said they grew up on a farm or came from a long line of farmers–despite that, they still couldn’t figure out why their tomato plants were dying. That made me feel a lot less insecure about my MANY garden failings.

It’s not going to be easy to finish this–14 classes spread over as many weeks, 40 volunteer hours, 8 continuing education units, homework and tests–but I think it’s so worth it.  I’ll be learning so much, I’ll be meeting so many people, and I’ll be volunteering at gardens across the county to earn this title of Master Gardener. Like most things, I’m sure I’ll find that the more I know, the more I’ll realize all that I don’t know.  Perhaps that’s the true meaning of “Master”–to realize that the depth of knowledge is endless and so the quest for knowledge continues.  I’ll be posting regularly about my journey and I hope you’ll join me.