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Kelda Miller
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Well, for the second year in a row I've been rejected by the local Master Gardener's program. I admit, I wanted to do it more for networking than for information, though I was interested to see if I'd learn something new.

Why did they reject me again? This year I was even interviewed twice (which honestly kind of peeved me, that's a lot of my time). But I didn't show it, I'm honestly very excited about meeting local master gardeners, and showed it. It wasn't my lack of garden knowledge, they seemed impressed when they asked about my gardens. It wasn't my commitment to the volunteer hours, I'm already involved with lots of local projects.

I even honestly said that I'd sign that paper, and do as told by the chemical corporations. But they must not have believed me.

So, I guess if this Master Gardener group doesn't want anything new and diverse in their conversations, I guess they're on the right track.

By the way, I was also just re-reading some of toby hemenway's articles. He says he works with Master Gardeners. I wonder if he took the course originally, or they've asked him as a teacher, or he works on projects with them, etc....

Oh, AND, since I got rejected from the MG, I decided to take the native plant Stewardship training instead.  In the application form I even spelled out my beef with their use of the term 'invasive plant'. They're still stoked to have me.
 
              
Posts: 13
Location: Indiana
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wow.................. kinda leaves a bad taste in your mouth regarding the program.  Did you forget to shower  Hope the other program is ten times as interesting!
 
Susan Monroe
Posts: 1093
Location: Western WA
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"... I'd sign that paper, and do as told by the chemical corporations. "

WHAT  What did the paper say, as exactly as you can remember?  I'll call my local MG class and ask if they want you to sign the same thing.

I would REALLY like to know what it said.  In fact, if you have a copy, PM me and tell me what it says. 

I was going to take that class in Thurston Co. when I got a job that wasn't 24 hrs a day.

Sue
 
Leah Sattler
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eek. I would be interested in seeing what it said too. i would venture to guess that they don't want anyone that comes off as being an activist.
 
Susan Monroe
Posts: 1093
Location: Western WA
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Taxpayers pay the costs, and the oil companies make the rules?

Sue
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 21347
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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Something stinks. 

Maybe your local extension agent is some sort of fan of chemicals and is looking for people that will sing them pesticide song and really mean it. 

 
Kelda Miller
Posts: 769
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to clarify this:
"... I'd sign that paper, and do as told by the chemical corporations. "

I don't have a copy, but maybe I could get one. But it's not just Pierce County.
The Master Gardeners describe at as the paper you sign saying that you'll only share information as its presented by the Master Gardener handbook while you're wearing the Master Gardener button.
I can understand that they do that to cover their arses, so noone sues them for getting horrible advice that messes something up...

BUT, signing this paper also means that if someone asks about pesticide application you
1) refer them to IPM
if they still want to use pesticides, you
2) give them the 'dosage' or whatever that the handbook recommends.
Again, I understand that they do this because a correctly applied pesticide dose is loads better than an incorrect one. I agree.

BUT, what irks me is how it's a constant contention point from what I can tell. Enough people are uncomfortable with it, so why not just take out pesticide use from the Master Gardener program? Or drastically whittle it down. It's not That crazy of an idea, many gardeners around here rarely think about using pesticides. And it would be a good use of our taxpayer dollars to wean all gardeners off of chemical fertilizers anyway.

Isn't that what ag extensions are supposed to do? Be at the cutting edge and teaching people skills that make agriculture better?

Why are the pesticides are kept in the program? Probably because the corporations which make those pesticides are big donors for the Extension programs.
 
Susan Monroe
Posts: 1093
Location: Western WA
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"Why are the pesticides are kept in the program? Probably because the corporations which make those pesticides are big donors for the Extension programs."

I understand that the companies are big donors to the universities, all over the country.  It's a cheap investment.  They especially donate to the agricultural colleges.  That's why things haven't changed much, why the continued advice has been so bad for decades, why farmers who followed the Ag U's advice have lost their farms and poisoned everything in the area.

"This is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people no longer.  It is a government of corporations, by corporations, and for corporations."
---- Rutherford B. Hayes, U.S. President, 1877-1881

Sue
 
Kelda Miller
Posts: 769
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I just received this from an Anonymous permaculture friend, not even talking about 'my rejection':

I find that the "Master Gardeners" have difficulty understanding 
permaculture. There world view is annuals in artificially maintained 
environments. I don't think it ever occurs to them that all plants 
evolved in the wild first.
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 21347
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
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I think it depends on the master gardener.

I'm a master gardener.  Does it seem like I have trouble understanding permaculture?

But I thought my master gardener instructor was excellent.  I think that could make an enormous difference.



 
Kelda Miller
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Oh yeah, I hear you. And I've heard that there's all sorts of good stuff in the program. And the director of this county's program seems pretty cool.

But then that's what confused me about not getting accepted.

During the interview, people were Obviously impressed at my whole gardening situation. I felt like they liked it, not like they didn't want me around.
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 21347
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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Maybe you can ask:  "please help me to understand how I might have a better chance of getting into the program next year."

 
Susan Monroe
Posts: 1093
Location: Western WA
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Why not write a brief note to that director of your county's program and ask why you weren't accepted?

Since you've been turned down twice, why not ask if your 'organic tendencies' are the problem?

Sue
 
Leah Sattler
Posts: 2603
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sue is right! they should at least have the courtesy of telling why. if not then you need to ask your self why you really want to be a part of it. I am a bit biased though. I have always found these types of organizations to be cumbersome and annoying, obnoxiously political, and inneffective. just social groups really.  I never really wished to be a part of them so....
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 21347
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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I think if I were the extension agent and somebody told me that I owe them an explanation, I would worry about getting sued or getting protesters or something.

And if somebody said "I really want to take your course, what might I do over the next 365 days that could improve my chances for next year?" - I think that would get an explanation.



 
Susan Monroe
Posts: 1093
Location: Western WA
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Several years ago, I met a woman who had recently taken the MG course and was working in a nursery.  I asked what kind of things they taught, and her answer was, "They teach you where to look up the answers to the questions".

Would that be an accurate description?

Sue
 
Jocelyn Campbell
steward
Posts: 4029
Location: Missoula, MT
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I am knowingly a "Polyanna" at times. I like living my life thinking the best of others; I'm happier for it. Now, this could be one of those times where I'm completely, completely off, but could it be they simply ran out of room both times you applied? Maybe the two interviews were because they had one spot left and five or ten folks vying for it, and they wanted to choose the best candidate. Maybe they realized you were too good for their program, already doing so many, many good things in the community, that they felt their time and efforts were better spent bringing someone newer or borderline into the fold.

My former sister-in-law is a fabulous master gardener who gave me my first worm bin and never, ever used chemicals on her property. I learned boatloads about organic farming from her.

I'm with the others: ask. It might be excruciatingly simple. And maybe even positive.
 
Leah Sattler
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paul wheaton wrote:
I think if I were the extension agent and somebody told me that I owe them an explanation, I would worry about getting sued or getting protesters or something.

And if somebody said "I really want to take your course, what might I do over the next 365 days that could improve my chances for next year?" - I think that would get an explanation.






I totally agree. I think asking in an intelligent way not a belligerent way goes without saying. the fastest way to alienate people and not "get your way" is to make them defensive. In fact I think that is a big problem in general with lots of the organic/enviromental/permie ideas. when we approach people ready for a fight or with a "my way is the only way" or "all  modern ideas are bad" aura around you people are really turned off. when we harbor those feelings inside us it prevents us from seeing some ideas that are good, makes us spin our wheels while re-inventing them.
 
Kelda Miller
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Sure, next time I see the Master Gardener agent, or whatever, I definitely plan on asking her what's up. I know her from other stuff around town too, and it's not like I'm upset, just like 'ha! whatever!' And yes, do I want to take this program so much anyway?

But then, without clearing the air, I sent her an email about MG maybe being involved with the sepp holzer event. Haven't heard back yet. It was like a week ago.

And Jocelyn may be totally right on: they may want to teach to people who need the knowledge more. The strange part is to not get a personal note or email about it from someone I thought was an ally...
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 21347
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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If the feedback comes back to support Jocelyn's theory ....  well ... doesn't that kind of seem like they are punishing those that do good things? 

"You are already a great contributor to the community - this class is offered only to those that are mediocre or non contributors.  This way we might, theoretically, maximize the number of community volunteer hours." 

So, if you do good, no fancy horticultural training for you!

 
            
Posts: 32
Location: Louisville, KY
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Hi...I'm new to this forum and thread, and I realize I'm changing the subject somewhat, but I'm curious about the Native Plant Stewardship course Kelda mentioned in her original post. 

Where is the course and how do you like it so far?  Are the principles you learn about native plants applicable to diverse ecosystems or are they particular to the Pac NW?
Thanks,
--Will
 
Kelda Miller
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Great segue Will! I've started it as another topic in the forum, but under the 'permaculture' posts. Through what organization? I live in WA state, so we have a Native Plant Society.....I bet some other states do as well, but I'm not sure....
 
            
Posts: 32
Location: Louisville, KY
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Thanks, Kelda:
I'll look for the thread in the Permaculture folder. 
 
                      
Posts: 36
Location: Snohomish, WA
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Okay, here it is:

1. I understand that as a WSU Master Gardener my pest control recommendations must be limited to home, lawn, and garden problems. Questions concerning crop production, commercial pest control, aquatic weed control methods and pesticide liability are to be referred to the county Extension Office.

2. I understand that as a WSU Master Gardener, I may only recommend a chemical for home and garden pest control if that use has been recommended by WSU.

3. I understand that as a WSU Master Gardener,I may ONLY recommend biological control organisms or other non-chemical alternatives for home and garden pest control if the recommended use is contained in current WSU Extensionpublications or other publications recognized by WSU scientists.

4. I understand that as a WSU Master Gardener, I will provide both chemical and non-chemical pest control recommendations allowing the client choice of strategies.

5. I understand that as a WSU Master Gardener, I am condisred a volunteer representative of WSU. Therefore, WSU will assume liability for my pest control recommendations, but only if my recommendations are limited to control measures that are recommended by WSU for home and garden use and listed in current WSU Extension publications or other publications recognized by WSU scientists.


Basically, in my understanding, Master Gardeners are considered unpaid employees of WSU. WSU has the right and responsibility to require the above terms for their protection from injury that a volunteer might inflict by, say, recommending that you pour gasoline down the mole holes and strike a match. (It has happened)

Let me also throw out the idea that I do not use harmful chemicals on my land. I am not turned on by the idea in any way. However, it does occur to me though that when the word pesticide is used, most "natural gardeners" (my feeble attempt to find and all encompassing term) cringe, myself included. However, pesticide could be lots of things, like biological controls such as releasing ladybeetles to eat aphids, bt, neem oil or the antibiotics I ended up taking when I got MRSA virus... This kind of opens my mind a bit.

Like most things, people can use the situation to their best interest if they are creative. If the Master Gardener wants to be within the requirements but still help people make the decision to not use harmful chemicals then they can let them know that most problems can be solved mechanically, they quote the over use of products that equated to dollars down the drain, speak to the useage label being a legally binding contract and use other creative measures to share information within the scope of the extensions outline. There are plenty of them if someone is looking for them.

I became a Master Gardener for several reasons. One is that I have been volunteering for a long time and have found the more bridges and connections made, the more I can get done. Another is that I believe there needs to be more people who grow food instead of peonies (okay they smell good but can you eat them? Besides, they don't bloom for an average of 7 years after you plant them!) and then there is the whole someone needs to be really clear and vocal about not choosing to use harmful products and to protect our waterways. I also joined because I am skeptical of lost of differnet organizations but instead of just staying skeptical, I have decided to check them out from the inside when possible, reevaluate and see if there is anything useful there (even if it is confimation of my skepticism). For the most part, Snohomish County Master Gardeneners and Extension are teaching about sustainable landscaping, raingardens, living roofs, water conservation, effects of chemicals in the home and garden and lots more.

So, do what you like with this tidbit of information. The Puyallup Extension is dumb for not accepting Kelda since she would be an incredible asset and has lots of experience in volunteering. She's been doing amazing things in her area! I think it must have been a space issue as I know the Snohomish County program is alway full and has a waiting list. I can't imagine what else it could have been. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

Now for a bit of sad news, WSU released the news that the Extensions will loose 75% of their funding. This means Extensions will look very different from what they look like today. This is all the more reason for grassroot groups to help out, reach out and get visible. Our communities are going to need us even more than ever!





 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
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Location: North Central Michigan
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that is really sad....i've never applied for one but thought about it a lot of times..with my husband having a head injury since 1985 I just never figured i'd have the time to do anything with it..

I know i have the knowledge and abilities..just not the time..

I'm sorry that they don't realize your abilities and desire
 
                              
Posts: 461
Location: Inland Central Florida, USA
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I'm impressed and pleased that there are extension services out there that are promoting "greener" safer methods.

When I went into my local office last year with some problems and questions, the first answer I got was chemicals.  When I asked about more organic methods, it seems as though (at least that office) doesn't really know much about organic methods.

Oh well.

I had sometimes wondered if I should try for the MG program here but my very erratic work schedule makes scheduling specific volunteer time difficult so I haven't tried.  Instead I try and share my produce with anyone interested and see if I can stir up interest that way.  If some one is interested, I'll share my methods on a personal basis where I can recommend what I want and they can look at my yard and decide for themselves if the advice is any good.

I must admit that here in FL, much of the year it is difficult to get people really interested in gardening unless they already are.  Right now it is so hot that I have difficulty getting out into the garden except early in the morning and after dusk.
 
Matt Powers
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It does look like it requires what he implies:

"Recommend and use (when functioning as a Master Gardener) only Texas A&M AgriLife approved information for any public pesticide, herbicides, fertilizer or cultural practices."

http://mastergardener.tamu.edu/files/2014/04/Volunteer-Agreement.pdf

Likely local master gardeners reflect local norms as well. Pacific NW might have better master gardeners simply because of this.
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Yep, the MG programs are usually developed by some entity that is connected with the local extension service.
I know many MG's, some are in Southern California, Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, New York, New Jersey, Nevada, Georgia, and here in Arkansas. Each group of MG's I personally know seem to have a Broad Knowledge base along with the localized knowledge needed and a set of regulations to follow. I tried several times to get into the program with out success.

Each time my application was turned down I was told;
I am not eligible to become a Master Gardener since I am considered to be in Commercial Agriculture.
Having been with the USDA for 18 years on the Agriculture side and being involved for many years with multiple commercial Seed growers, Nurseries and Orchards seems to disqualify me from becoming a Master Gardener.

Having Chemistry, Biology and Horticulture degrees, I am not concerned with getting any more certifications, they are nice but in my old age I find the knowledge and practicing that knowledge is better.
I also like to learn new methods, constantly work on improving my knowledge base and share what I have learned with anyone who will listen.
In the past I have given presentations on many of the aspects of permaculture and sustainable agriculture. It has always been the "Ah Hah" moment in someone's eyes that make me happiest.
 
220 hours of permaculture video, freaky cheap! http://kck.st/2q6Ycay.
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