Master Gardener Program in Polk County 2015

The Master Gardener Program in Polk County started in 2001. Over 150 people have been trained since that time, and there are currently 19 certified Master Gardener Volunteers (MGVs) for 2016. The UWEX staff member facilitating the MG Program is Wendy Linke.

Growing Vegetables at the Local Food Pantry

Open Cupboard is a food shelf opportunity for people in the Osceola area. Two years ago a MGV contacted the manager of the Open Cupboard about starting a straw bale garden. MGVs brought in 12 bales and conditioned them for planting. AŌer the bales were conditioned, they were planted with vegetables and flowers. The idea was members of the Open Cupboard would then go out and reap the harvest for the food shelf. A local resident, who lived nearby, was very excited about this endeavor and volunteered to keep it watered.

Rain Barrels Help Conserve Water

This year we purchased eight 55 gallon food grade barrels and added fiƫng to turn them into rain barrels to sell to community members for use at their homes. Increasing the number of rain barrels in our communities helps preserve the environment by reducing runoff pollution and erosion, as well as helping to conserve water. We provided information on the use and benefits of the rain barrels to the customers.

Gardening Class for Middle Schoolers

MGVS taught a week-long gardening class to 5th graders through the Unity Community Education Program in July. The class designed and then planted one of 10 raised beds of vegetables to be used for consumption in the school lunchroom. The MGVs also assisted in maintaining the other beds.

Volunteer Service in 2015

Youth education 30 hours
Adult education 138 hours
Support services 488 hours
Total 657 hours
Value* $14612

Since 2001: 9,995 hours at a value of over $175,496

* using the current estimated dollar value of volunteer time in Wisconsin of $22.24 per hour, from Independent Sector. Cumulative value based on previous annual estimates.

Copy of Master Gardener Symbol - Full Color

Where you can find activities by MGVs in Polk Co.

  • Polk County Fair Grounds, St. Croix Falls
  • Luck Campground
  • Unity School, Balsam Lake
  • Open Cupboard, Osceola
  • Osceola Wellness Fair
  • Polk Co. MGA Mother’s Day Plant Sale
  • Garfield Park