The Master Gardener Program in Barron County started in 1997. Over 195 people have been trained since that time, and there are currently 29 certified Master Gardener Volunteers (MGVs) for 2019
In 2018, Barron County Master Gardener Volunteers reported 1,896 hours of community service, worth a value of over $36,900.
* using the current estimated dollar value of volunteer time in Wisconsin of $24.69 per hour, from Independent Sector.
Grow Food for Community
Barron County Master Gardener Volunteers planted, maintained, and harvested vegetables in the community garden in Barron. In collaboration with the UW-Extension FoodWIse “Growing Together Wisconsin” project they provided over 730 pounds of fresh vegetables to the Barron Food Pantry and Senior Nutrition Program.
Additionally, the MGVs answered questions from the community gardeners on Thursday evenings and a children’s garden was also created to teach about gardening and to encourage healthy eating.
Grow Gardens for a Sense of Time and Place
MGVs assisted the the Barron County Historical Society in its mission “to collect, preserve, and share the unique heritage of Northwest Wisconsin, in order to honor our ancestors, enrich lives, and inspire future generations” by creating and maintaining a WWI themed garden at the Pioneer Village Museum. To reflect the needs of 100 years ago, a square-foot gardening to grow vegetables behind one of the log cabins. In addition, barrels and pots were planted with a variety of edible plants. MGVs were available to teach visitors about growing edibles, and to let visitors sample tomatoes, peppers, beans, peas, kale, chard, spinach, and carrots.
“We are always pleased to see the number of children who are excited about eating vegetables they pick themselves. They especially enjoyed picking climbing beans this year, and surprising their parents by thinking Swiss chard tastes great.” Master Gardener Volunteer
Educate the Community about Gardening
MGVs reached 145 participants provide with an array of horticultural topics the annual Spring Expo, Rice Lake In addition, eight MGVs volunteered for the 2018 State Conference (see Eau Claire County) to provide education to over 200 MGVs from across the state.
Teach Kids How to Garden
MGVs instruct students in gardening skills at the Benjamin’s House/Family Enrichment Center as a lesson on where food comes from. The School Sunflower project introduces plants to kids and reached over 620 3rd and 4th graders in over nine schools in the county. During the Barron County Fair, MGVs staff an educational booth and judge horticulture entries. All of these efforts reach and educate hundreds of children and their families.
Where you can find activities by MGVs
- Barron Community Garden Park
- Barron County Fair Grounds
- Benjamin’s House, Rice Lake
- Pioneer Village Museum
- Rice Lake Farmer’s Market
- School Sunflower Project
- Spring Garden Expo
- Barron Co. MGA Plant Sale
By the Numbers