Master Gardener volunteers from around the state showed remarkable resiliency in 2021, tackling diverse volunteer activities while also following safety practices. Classes, as well as diagnostic clinics, were offered via Zoom. Due to restrictions to in-person work, youth teaching gardens were transformed into giving gardens.
This year, many Master Gardeners found ways to complete some volunteer work at home by working on three approved low-contact, work-from-home activities:
Pollinator-friendly gardens - Master Gardeners increased pollinator habitat and provided education via on-site interpretive signage.
212 gardens were planted and maintained adding 234,398 square feet or 5.4 acres of habitat for pollinators.
Giving gardens - Master Gardeners grew and donated fresh, locally-grown produce to local food shelves. Education was provided by distributing along with the produce written information about how the produce was grown, and storage recommendations.
130 gardens were planted from which 25,291 pounds or 12.7 tons of produce were donated.
Plants for distribution - Master Gardeners shared vegetable plants with low-income families and houseplants with residents of assisted living centers to promote mental health and wellbeing. Information about how to care for the plant was included.
45 volunteers propagated 6,319 plants that were donated to those in need.
- In Clay County: Master Gardener Adriane C. added 200 square feet to her pollinator garden, which was already over 1000 square feet. Her garden contained educational signage to help the 65 weekly unique passersby learn about pollinators.
- In Dakota County: "I consider my garden to be a first-year success and anticipate that it will continue to be, as I learn more about the pollinators that it attracts and talk more with my neighbors about the benefits of planting a pollinator-friendly garden," said Patti J.
- In Kanabec County: Master Gardener Barb O. reports, "I enjoyed working in my giving garden and giving some produce away to our Mora Food Pantry and friends. The response was very thankful and excited that I would share my garden with them. This has been a wonderful and rewarding project to do at home and share with others."
- In Pine County: Master Gardener intern Teri H. started seeds in March and donated 120 vegetable plants to community members, including to The Makoons Cultural Camp. "It was fun to see how excited folks were to be able to pick up a couple plants for their garden."
- In Carlton County: Master Gardeners donated plants to residents at Sunnyside Nursing Home in Cloquet. Staff report that the plants were deeply appreciated by residents. "Having a little bit of color in their rooms and something to take care of helped to make their days a little brighter."