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Master Gardener Program Yields $102 Million Value of Volunteering for Oxford

Here are Tuesday’s pickings, headed to the Community Pantry.  Master Gardeners strike again. (Photo by Martha Heffner)
Here are Tuesday’s pickings, headed to the Community Pantry. Master Gardeners strike again. (Photo by Martha Heffner)

One may find the finger and footprints of Master Gardeners embedded in the soil of the Community Garden.

As you drive on Bramlett between the Pavilion and the Skate Park you may see a beautiful garden surrounded by a fence.

Every Tuesday morning before it gets too hot, Master Gardeners can be found picking produce, pulling weeds and other tasks that go along with a bountiful garden. One Saturday a month the real work of maintaining the garden takes place. The vegetables that are harvested are immediately taken to the Community Pantry where they are distributed to needy families the next day.

The Master Gardener program is all about “Learning, Sharing, and Growing Together.” The Master Gardener program is a nationwide organization of volunteers led by the MSU Extension Service personnel. There are over 100,000 volunteers who have put in over $102 million worth of volunteer hours for projects that help our country grow. The Oxford Community Garden has been in continuous cultivation and production since the Master Gardeners started it almost a decade ago. The Master Gardeners share the space with numerous families who want fresh vegetables for their tables.

Since 1991, the Master Gardener program has grown throughout Mississippi. New recruits to the program are expected to be involved with 40 hours of classroom training. The classes are taught by professionals in the field and professors from Mississippi State University. Long time participants have to participate in at least 20 hours of education. Each year educational programs are offered for members and the community on topics such as Sustainability, visiting local farms, gardens and nurseries. New members give at least 40 service hours and other members provide at least twenty hours each year.

All Master Gardeners are available to consult with gardeners in Lafayette-Oxford-University community about issues they may be having. Master Gardeners provide assistance to “green up the community.”

If you are interested in having your prints left for future gardeners and our community, contact the Extension Service at 662-234-4451. A new class will start on September 6 at the Extension Office.

Martha Heffner is a Master Gardener. She can be contacted at marthaheffner@aol.com.

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