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Farmers’ Market Report:

Last month’s Santa Monica Farmers Market Library Panel, “A Garden in Every Yard: Bringing Edible and Sustainable Plants Out to Play” drew a standing room only crowd. Panelists Jimmy and Logan Williams, owners of Hayground Organics; Marilee Kuhlmann of Comfort Zones Garden Design; Tara Kolla from Silver Lake Farms and Kim Boyce, former pastry chef of Spago and Campanile and vegetable monger for Coastal Farm; and Russ Parsons, Los Angeles Times writer and author were a wealth of gardening information. Due to the record-breaking turnout, it is safe to say that many Santa Monica residents have quite a green thumb. If you have a passion for gardening and helping the community, than the Master Gardener Volunteer Training Program might be just the program for you.

Since 1978, the Common Ground Garden Program has helped Los Angeles County residents to garden, grow their own food, and prepare it healthfully. Their targeted audience and priority are limited-resource residents and those traditionally underrepresented. By training community volunteers, they empower neighborhoods to create their own solutions. Master Gardener volunteers work primarily with community gardens, school gardens, seniors, and homeless and battered women’s shelters.

Applications for the 2009 Master Gardener Volunteer Training Program are available now through January 15. This program is open to people who have previous community service and basic gardening experience and want to be trained to help fixed- and low-income communities, such as school and senior gardens, and housing developments grow their own food. The comprehensive program teaches basic plant science, propagation, fertilization, irrigation, soil, compost, vegetable, herb, and fruit gardening, as well as flowering plants and trees, Integrated Pest Management, how to create community and school gardens, and outreach techniques.

Classes meet every Saturday from March through May from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. in East Los Angeles. Following graduation, meeting are held on the second Saturday of every month throughout the year, and additional volunteer hours are required. The application deadline is January 31, 2009. Notification of acceptance into the program will be in mid-February. There are usually over 100 applications and only 50 spaces available. To obtain an application you MUST subscribe one of the Master Gardener e-lists, either Community Gardening and Food Security or School Gardening, and then an application will be automatically sent to you. You can sign up for one of the e-lists at the Master Gardener website: celosangeles.ucdavis.edu/Common_Ground_Garden_Program/. The Master Gardener website is also a wonderful gardening resource and filled with useful information and monthly gardening tips.

NOTICE: The Wednesday December 24 and December 31 Santa Monica Farmers Markets will have special holiday hours and be open from 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

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