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A Conversation with Ashley Helmholdt

By Melissa Jo Hill
  • Cornell Cooperative Extension

Ashley Helmholdt is the adult program leader, extension associate, Seed to Supper coordinator, and Master Gardener Volunteer Program support lead for Cornell Garden-Based Learning, which provides horticulture educators with inspiring, research-based gardening resources and professional development to facilitate engaging, empowering, and relevant learning experiences for children, youth, adults, and communities. 

With an eye toward increasing food security and sustainability through gardening, creating and sharing best practices for county-based Master Gardener Programs is a large part of Cornell Garden-based Learning’s work. Offered by 13 county associations across the state, the Seed to Supper program is aimed at new, and new to New York State gardeners. Embracing the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion helps the Seed to Supper program cast a wide net for new participants, and the program prepares volunteers to work in food-insecure communities.

The Seed to Supper program is meant to be "a gateway to the Master Gardener program," Helmholdt explains. "It's a no-cost low-budget gardening curriculum. We work with community partner organizations that work with low-budget gardeners to recruit new folks into the gardening community, to welcome them and help them see that this community is theirs, as well."

Creating garden-spaces doesn’t just increase food access. Helmholdt sees the benefits of community green spaces in promoting well-being, especially in low-income communities. “The research really shows us that, especially in lower income communities, that natural spaces buffer the stress that people are feeling… people that have access to trees have a better ability to overcome stressful life experiences,” she says. “When I think about the role that we play as Master Gardener volunteers, I see this as a grassroots movement to really increase the access to nature and especially in urban and low -income communities… Increasing access through places like community gardens, through smaller green spaces, even small beautification programs that master gardeners run around the state, actually has a really big impact. A bigger impact than you would think on local mental health.”

“It’s not going to solve everything,” Hemholdt adds, “but it's one thing we can do. And it's really powerful.”

This conversation with Helmholdt is the eighth and final episode of the “Extension Out Loud” series, “Leading Through Extension,” which features key Cornell Cooperative Extension voices discussing their approaches to extension work and how history – and this past tumultuous year — are shaping the organization’s path forward.

Listen on:

PAUL TREADWELL: Welcome to Extension Out Loud, a podcast from Cornell Cooperative Extension. I am Paul Treadwell.

KATIE BAILDON: And I'm Katie Baildon.

PAUL TREADWELL: This is our final episode in the Living Through Extension series that we've been running. And as a side note, it's also the final episode that my co-host will be joining me for the show. We want to say goodbye to Katie Baildon and wish her best in her next career move. You'll be missed, Katie.

KATIE BAILDON: Thanks Paul. I'll definitely miss doing these podcasts with you.

PAUL TREADWELL: For today, who are we talking to?

KATIE BAILDON: Today we talked to Ashley Helmholdt. And she's the Adult Program leader for Cornell garden-based learning, which means that she engages with master gardeners and master gardener coordinators across New York state.

ASHLEY HELMHOLDT: My name is Ashley Helmholdt, and I'm the adult program leader for Cornell Garden-based learning. I've been here for approximately two years. It's been a really interesting journey getting back to extension work because it's really where I started off in most of my volunteering and even some of my practicum work in college and graduate school.

So, I'm from western New York but I've lived all over this country. I've lived in Michigan for a large chunk of my life. I went to undergrad there, Michigan State. And lived in Savannah, Georgia, as well. And across these experiences, I really have more of a background in urban planning and environmental studies and environmental justice. And so I have this real focus on the urban environment, but the impacts of urban greening on local communities. And that's really been the central theme of my career.

And so it's a little different way of getting to working with the master gardener volunteer program at Cornell garden-based learning, but it makes a lot of sense when thinking about my background. I really worked in a national nonprofit called Earth Force, where I worked with watershed-based education in a lot of urban areas throughout the Midwest, as well as working for several years for farmers markets and farmer's markets nutrition education programs, starting up a SNAP program at a farmers market and Double Up Food Bucks program, which is similar to what we have in New York state around increasing purchasing of fruits and vegetables.

So I really got kind of cut my teeth more on environmental education and farmer's market work. And then really, that led into doing some local government work in a sustainability office in Savannah, Georgia, where I worked directly with community organizations and community gardens and really helping to support, organize, develop, volunteer programs, even developing a sustainability plan and several grant programs that supported this idea of using vacant spaces in urban areas to really support those communities, whether it be through food security or reducing flooding. The central theme of my career is just working in these vacant, underutilized spaces and helping support the way that we can enhance urban greening through them. Like I said, community gardens were really a central part to that.

So when I moved back to New York state after having my son, I really was interested in getting back into that work. And really extension is just the perfect kind of place for me. Because this place for applied research really takes place right, where we take the great work going on at Cornell and we apply it to communities where they can use it.

And so that's what I really went to school for. I really was interested in more of the applied piece, how does this really address community issues. And that's exactly what the Master Gardener Volunteer program does. It prepares adults to take on action projects in communities, to work with community partners, to address issues through the use of gardens. I really love that, and that's what Cornell Garden-based learning is all about.

And we really prepare those CCE educators to prepare their volunteers to do that. So that's been a really fun thing, being able to connect interesting and creative new projects through Cornell, to communities that can use them.

KATIE BAILDON: You mentioned Cornell Garden-based Learning and that you're the adult program leader. And you also mentioned the Master Gardener program. So can you tell us how those pieces fit together.

ASHLEY HELMHOLDT: Cornell Garden-based learning is really a partnership between myself and Marcia Eames-Sheavly, who runs the 4H Youth Gardening component. So there's always been this kind of partnership between across the generations. So we do mostly adult programs, and Marcia really works primarily with 4H youth.

And I think there's a real synergy there. Because again, we're a little different than most states in that we don't have a top-down Master Gardener volunteer program, but we provide guidance and professional development to the CCE educators. That's really our mission. We want to provide and support those CCE educators in connecting the Cornell resources and really preparing the master gardeners for new cutting edge kinds of programs.

So we develop those statewide projects that master gardeners can get involved in, as well as we really prepare the curriculum resources that they use for preparing their volunteers. And then at the local level, they're really taking that and adapting it to their local needs so that their master gardener volunteer program might have slightly different looks around the state.

But they're all going to have that same overarching mission of focusing on food security or environmental stewardship, which is our mission. And we, like I said, really provide the professional development to develop peer educators and really develop high-quality adult education programs, which is really where we are similar across the youth and the adult programs.

PAUL TREADWELL: So Ashley, who are master gardeners?

ASHLEY HELMHOLDT: Master gardeners across the state really look very different. We have programs in very urban areas to very, very rural areas. Primarily, we tend to work with an older population of folks because of the volunteer commitment. And most people have that time once they're retired. So we have a large retired community that works in the Master Gardener program.

But we actually have seen a lot of diversity and increase in younger people, people with children, people with jobs join the Master Gardener program in the last year when many people have taken those trainings online. And so that was a big push that we made over the last year and a half. We had funding before COVID started to really take what was a new online curriculum and really adapt it so that it wasn't just a library, Cornell Garden-Based Learning Library is what it's called. But it was actually a guided course that each county could use for the Master Gardener program.

And what I'm hearing from all of the coordinators is that they are able to get a larger diversity of people in their programs because of that. So when many of them took it online, they still included some in-person, outdoor, hands-on components. But by having a majority of the training online, it really opened up for people who wouldn't normally have the ability to take the course. So that's been a really interesting development. And I know that's something that was kind of a little bit of good timing around having the funding and having a person who could help us adapt our curriculum to that online need.

So our master gardeners, like I said, because we share that mission statement across the state and our programs statewide really share that mission, we finally get people who are interested in that community education mission of what we do. So they're not out there implementing gardens for others, but supporting as liaisons, developing educational programming, and developing demonstration gardens, as well as supporting these statewide educational programs like Seed to Supper, which is the beginning low-budget gardening program offered statewide. As well as the Vegetable Varieties Child garden program, which is another kind of demonstration garden to teach the public about new vegetable varieties. So these are just a few of the statewide programs that we kind of replicate statewide. And so there's a little bit of uniformity to our master Gardener program statewide.

KATIE BAILDON: And you said earlier that New York is a little bit different than most of the more top-down Master Gardener programs. Can you tell us more about the national program and how it got started, and some of those kind of missions or goals that level might be?

ASHLEY HELMHOLDT: Yeah, and so the Master Gardener program really began in the-- I've gotten a couple of different accounts-- but I believe in 1975 is the right year. It really began out west. And as a state, every state has really adopted this great popular program as a model. What's nice is the nationwide network of Master Gardener coordinators provides kind of this common ground and common language that we can all use around what are some best practices, for instance, around a number of volunteer hours.

What are best practices around the kinds of projects that I was kind of talking about. So making sure master gardeners are having a similar kind of educational mission nationwide. That really has helped me a lot. Because we are very county-based program, whereas many states have the same exact rules for every county and kind of a central reporting system. Whereas we're not funded that way.

So what I really learned from the national programs is really, what are those best practices that are out there that we've learned from other states. And we've actually just created a new kind of program guidelines document for existing coordinators to look at and say, OK, how can we be more aligned with the national best practices, versus having different guidelines for counties.

PAUL TREADWELL: So it started in '75. Obviously the profile of master gardeners is currently undergoing some transition for a number of different reasons, some societal, some access to technology, the impact of COVID. Are there integrated elements, or has the program shifted to embrace diversity, equity inclusion? And how has that manifested in your work with Master Gardener coordinators.

ASHLEY HELMHOLDT: Yeah, that's a great question. And this has actually been an ongoing thing prior to even a lot of civil unrest that's happened over the last year. Part of our mission statement is focused on food security and sustainability education. But also, specifically in our Seed to Supper program, which is in 13 counties statewide, there's a real focus on cultural awareness and cultural sensitivity in our workshops that we prepare volunteers to work in vulnerable communities that are not necessarily what are represented in our volunteers all the time.

And that's been a really intentional move. Because, again, I think what's happened a lot with volunteering-- and this is true just nationwide, this is just the statistics-- that we tend to be a white, upper middle class, women-dominated volunteer program. And that's partly due to just the time of the volunteer commitment.

And so part of my job I think is helping to lower the barriers to entry to the Master Gardener program, by not only creating programming that's going to be accessible to people, but also developing in our coordinators the skills in working across difference and working in communities that perhaps extension hasn't always had a really solid relationship. And that's not always to say that there aren't, there definitely are a lot of our CCE educators that have a lot of experience working across different cultural communities.

But we have, as you know, a lot of different cultures in New York state. Many of our Seed to Supper programs work with communities of Americans that are just getting involved. And maybe not just getting involved in gardening, but just getting involved in the community. And so we've really worked pretty hard to create that program to be as low a barrier to entry as possible. So it's kind of like a gateway to the Master Gardener program. It's a no-cost low-budget gardening curriculum. We work with community partner organizations that work with low-budget gardeners to recruit new folks into the gardening community, to welcome them and help them see that this community is theirs, as well.

And so that's been a really important program for doing that. But beyond that, I think that program has been going on since 2017 here, and it's actually started at Oregon State University. So it has a track record of increasing people's confidence and sense of community. So it's really, it's more about building community. Gardening skills are a part of that. But the first part is building the community and building the relationships, which is not always what comes first when you think of Master Gardeners.

And I really think that that's something we're trying to make kind of a central part of our program, really having those skills at reaching out across differences and building communities because gardening can be a common language. And many of our Seed to Supper participants end up being volunteers in the Seed to Supper program, as well as teaching us about new ways to garden, new varieties we can grow in New York state. It's really an exchange, not just a one way street.

I'm really hopeful that program, along with kind of lowering the barrier to entry for Master Gardener volunteer programs is going to really see a bigger uptick in a larger number of people, including people who are working and parents and might not have all of the expensive gardening tools. You don't need all that. You really-- most of my gardening experience has been in a community garden. So I know firsthand, from a very humble experience, that you don't have to have lots of money to garden. We really just need space, community, and education. And that's what we really hope to do to make it really accessible.

KATIE BAILDON: As you were talking, I was thinking, we hear a lot about the role of home gardening in food security. But I'm wondering if you can talk a little bit more about that and whether the Master Gardener program looks specifically at food security and home gardening as a possible solution to some of the food security issues that families might face.

ASHLEY HELMHOLDT: Going back to Seed to Supper a little bit, the survey that has been done in the program since it began in Oregon really showed that just being educated on the resources available in the community for gardening, but also the resources that people might not know about related to even SNAP, for instance. You can use SNAP benefits to buy plant starts at a farmer's market.

There are resources we can use to increase food security that, again, build on those other sources of food security and communities. In addition to that, I think that the main thing that we've learned from surveys is that just having access to the knowledge and the people, connections, is what helps people to take that next step. Because as you know, gardening is actually pretty complex. And it's not really that easy to grow lots and lots of food for yourself. But in community, we can do a lot more.

And our master gardeners are amazing at growing food and really have amazing skills in this department. Just to give you an example, they donated over 7,000 pounds of food to local food banks through the demonstration gardens that we've been involved with around the state. The master gardeners want to do this because they have access. They know what they're doing and they know how to produce excess.

But I think where we really come in is connecting people to not just the resources and the people that can help them, but also those next steps. How do we cook food. And we have programs for that, through our SNAP program. We have programs to help people take those next steps.

And that's where I think you're really-- the food security piece comes in. Is you're not just growing food. You're learning how to use it in the best way. And so that's really where I see the food security piece coming into play. And we have seen a lot of increase in demand for that kind of learning. So I think across all socioeconomic backgrounds, people want awareness.

So community gardens I feel like have even a larger role to play in this because they provide this larger amount of land and larger group of people with which to ask questions and get support. I know personal experience that has been critical to learning. Because I came to gardening the roundabout way, through learning, through community members who helped me learn the skills.

And so I feel like knowing I didn't grow up with this background, I didn't go to school for that, it can be done. And you can do it well. And we can support these community members and growing their own food in a larger amount. But it really takes that community piece to build in that food security element, because those connections are really critical to that. And our CCE programs are just so well established to help people do that. So I'm excited about that. I think that a lot of potential there to do even more.

PAUL TREADWELL: So Ashley, in an urban environment-- let's talk about gardening in urban environments for a minute. How do you find land? What's the process? And how do you find seeds, are there community banks, shared-- you know, what is the process?

ASHLEY HELMHOLDT: And the answer to that is that it is very different in every community. In the ones that I worked in local government, again, I was kind of supporting getting people. I was the connector to resources. So in many communities, where there's not a person like that, it can sometimes be really difficult overcoming the barriers to getting access to land. And a lot of those barriers have to do more with policies around access to land and just those initial startup costs.

I was involved with, we used FEMA lots. These are lots that are never going to be built on because they flood. So there wasn't as much of a competition for those lots for other purposes. But in other communities, that's not true. There's development pressure on those kinds of vacant lots. So having consistent policies and having somebody who can help you navigate those policies in each community is kind of critical.

That's something that our CCE folks could be potential conduits to helping people overcome those barriers to getting gardening. But a lot of our established urban gardening environments, like in Buffalo and Rochester, there's a lot of community gardens already. It's just getting access, overcoming those barriers to water and the costs of maintaining that. And that, a little different per community.

And New York City obviously being the biggest and the most complex. They have whole teams of people to help those community gardens kind of keep up with all the regulatory pieces. So it's a very complex question. And it's actually got a very different answer for every community. But it's an important one.

KATIE BAILDON: Yeah, so we talked about some of the food justice issues and diversity equity inclusion and programming. Are there any other sort of trends that you're seeing in the work that you're doing that you're responding to?

ASHLEY HELMHOLDT: Yeah, I think that obviously climate change is so intertwined with all these other diversity, equity, inclusion and food security issues that it's hard to piece them out. And one of the things I applied for some funds for was a food forest trial garden program, again, to teach people about ecological learning skills that also help with some of those ecosystem services issues and communities. So both feeding people and addressing some of the ecosystem services that our communities need to adapt to climate change.

At a very small scale, very quick description of what food forests are, they really are about integrating fruit trees and other perennial fruiting plants into garden design, and replicating the ecology of a forest in that process. So this is done much more on the Small Farms Program. But this is like a smaller community garden level context.

That's just one trend that I'm kind of slowly building some resources around for master gardeners. I think it's an important one. Because again, we need to build skills around adapting to climate change. And I think horticulture is a big role to play, even in home gardening if you think about lawns and all of the space that our personal property takes up.

There's a large amount of our properties that actually could be better utilized for ecosystem services. So I feel like one of our roles is to teach and support programming, helping people to adapt to changes in precipitation events that we're going to have. And really planting more trees is a part of that. And also in urban environments we have a lot of heat island effect and more localized kind of climate. These kinds of spaces help support a more sustainable environment in those locations, as well.

So I see that as a trend. Another trend I think that is not going away is that we'll just continue to do more online programming. But also when we do get together, do more hands on experiential learning. And so that's really-- I know it works for kids, and also works for adults. And it's really important that when we're teaching these kinds of skills, that we do it in a sense of community as well as actually addressing issues in real time. So that's one of my goals, is to do more field-day experiences with Master Gardner statewide, so that they can learn in a hands-on way.

And that's definitely true, again, for the 4H side. It's always been kind of how they operate. And we want to do more of that. We have some really interesting stuff around teaching people about how to grow different special varieties from all around the world. That's something else we're putting together that I'm really excited about, kind of an international vegetable varieties trial garden program to teach your master gardeners about what can be grown in New York state that is not only really nutritious, but also culturally appropriate to different groups around the state. So those are just a few of the trends that I'm seeing in the future.

PAUL TREADWELL: So we understand the terms here, when you refer to ecosystem services, and community gardens contributing to that, what is an ecosystem service? What are services that ecosystems provide, how do we understand this.

ASHLEY HELMHOLDT: So there's a couple of different layers to ecosystem services. There's the actual kind of environmental services that trees and plantings provide, whether it be rain water capture or carbon capture, as well as reducing, for instance, localized air pollution. That's just the physical ecosystem services. But there's also the cultural ecosystem services that is part of the definition that's contributing to the cultural needs of the community. What are the kinds of fruits and vegetables that people in that community want to eat and providing for recreational and more green space in communities.

So there's a couple different layers to it. But really, it's more about utilizing the green space that we have in the best way possible in order to bring the most benefit to the community.

KATIE BAILDON: So I want to loopback to something that you mentioned earlier, when you were talking about some of the benefits of being in natural environments, can you talk more about that and the role of gardening in that.

ASHLEY HELMHOLDT: Just to give a little context, my background is in applied research and human environment relations in the College of Human Ecology. So I kind of live between these two worlds of the social sciences and the natural sciences. I just think there's so much growth in this area because the research really shows us that, especially in lower income communities, that natural spaces buffer the stress that people are feeling. And there's a lot of ways that they do that.

There's basically something called attention restoration, where people who are stressed out and on a computer all day, haven't looked outside at all, going outside actually helps you to be able to concentrate the focus again. For kids, and especially this has been true that in low income housing, where there are trees versus no trees, the people that have access to trees have a better ability to overcome stressful life experiences. And that's real scientific research that's been done on this.

And so when I think about the role that we have to play as Master Gardener volunteers, I see this as a grassroots movement to really increase the access to nature and especially urban and low income communities. There's not as many of these spaces available to people.

So increasing access through places like community gardens, through smaller green spaces, even small beautification programs that master gardeners run around the state, actually has a really big impact, a bigger impact than you would think on local mental health. And it also builds community. So there's that piece to it, too. So you're both engaging people in developing green space but then you're also improving some of these adaptations to stress.

And so it's not going to solve everything. But it's one thing we can do. And it's something really powerful and important people. I'm excited to share more of that background with master gardeners and help them see that this isn't just something extra. This is actually really important right now. It's important to people's mental well-being to help them see that they have an impact and they have control over their environment and they can improve it. These are all really positive things that we can give back to communities. And I think it's got a lot of ripple effects that we don't always know about.

PAUL TREADWELL: Culturally within the Master Gardener program, you know it's been around for 45. You're going to celebrate your 50th anniversary soon, aren't you.

ASHLEY HELMHOLDT: Very soon, yeah. Yeah, yeah.

PAUL TREADWELL: That's awesome. So it's been around for a while. Has the introduction of new ideas and new content into that program, how does it flow?

ASHLEY HELMHOLDT: I would say our group of master gardeners that I've encountered have been really receptive. We've developed a new continuing education course that kind of touches on all of these subjects. I've gotten really positive feedback out of a lot of it. Because it's research fact, it's kind of defending the kind of work that they do and the value of it. But it also helps people to see that this is not for those that have a lot of wealth. This is really something that can be applied to supporting community's improvement over time.

Why I feel like I was hired was to bring that perspective because I come from that background. And I actually have learned a lot from the master gardeners on ornamentals and all of these other things that I didn't have a lot of background in. But I think what I'm bringing to the table and what they're really receptive to is this is gardening, but it's also all of these other things that are actually part of our mission statement for CCE.

And I think it's about shifting our perspective from, oh this is a nice extra, you're doing beautification. To like, oh no, this is actually improving crime rates. There's research out there if you improve physical look of a neighborhood there's less crime. And so I'm really excited about helping people to see this is something that can really benefit communities in a lot of ways.

And folks in urban planning programs are talking a lot about this. And I know [INAUDIBLE] in our program was talking a lot about this. But I think we need to make it more widespread. And we need to-- especially right now, as people are recovering from this just crazy time we've been in. We're going to see people wanting more the sense of community.

And one way, it's one of those spaces where we can still engage and come together as a community without a lot of fear, especially during the pandemic. Community gardening efforts and those kinds of things have actually been a consistent piece that people can have access to right now. And I think, hope, that's going to continue into the future.

I have not felt the resistance. If anything, I think people are just have been really afraid during this time. And hopefully some of that is waning, and especially since a lot of our master gardeners are older. You know, I think they've really-- this has provided a sense of community that is so important in this time when people have been isolated. I guess I feel like more of a sense of community with Master Gardener program than ever and more of a sense of mission because of that.

In a nutshell, that's my really positive kind of spin on that, is that, of course, there's always resistance to things like climate change and social justice issues. But really when it comes down to it, we want to connect people to plants and to each other. And that's kind of a common human need that I think crosses across any kind of difference. That's something we can all come together around.

KATIE BAILDON: One of the first emails I think that I remember coming across my desk when I started with extension was about the jumping worms and like master gardeners were seeing these really aggressive worms in their garden all of a sudden. And there was a lot of conversation among master gardeners about what are these things and how do we deal with them. So can you talk a little bit about how the program responds to things that people are actually seeing right in their backyard?

ASHLEY HELMHOLDT: That's another-- I talk a lot about the social issues because that's where I'm coming from. But there's a much greater part of the program that is addressing those common-- it seems like there's just more and more of them, all of these invasive pest issues. And that's really one of them, jumping worms, gypsy moths, as you might have heard of, have really affected trees in large parts of western New York and the north country.

So we provide webinars and some of these topics to try to get ahead of these things. But mostly we work with the New York state IPM folks, we work with the invasive species, PWT. We work with the experts in these different groups to bring this research to the master gardeners. Because again, I'm not an expert in all of this, but we had all these great connections to programs that are really, really knowledgeable about these specific subjects.

So I feel like my job is to keep on top of that and make sure I know who to talk to because this is something I'm learning a lot about as we go, as well. So I really rely on the sustainable landscapes, program work team, the invasive species program work team, and our amazing CCE educators to survey and tell me what are the top questions you're getting in your office, so that we can do professional development on it and help them master gardeners address questions.

That's the biggest. There's more and more of them. And a lot of it is kind of coming at you at a lot of fast speed, I would say. And so Master Gardener program really helps to support communities in addressing those problems because it can't just be one educator doing all that.

PAUL TREADWELL: So Ashley, is there anything you wanted to say that you weren't able to say yet, or anything that you think we should touch on before we wrap this up?

ASHLEY HELMHOLDT: I might put a little push out there for the fact that we have some really fun and interesting things coming up. We have an ecological gardening guide being developed in conjunction with Jenny Kramer from CCE Tompkins, which is taking some of these concepts that we're talking about, some of this continuing education for master gardeners and creating a month by month guide to gardening and year to date and addressing some of these common issues, like you talked about.

So that's all-in-one nice, easy to use guide for new gardeners, home gardeners, community gardeners. That's a really exciting new publication that's kind of coming through a collaboration with master gardeners. Master gardeners around the state are editing that and helping support that. And then also, like I mentioned earlier, we have a food forest trail garden program, which is going to provide some small scale grants for demonstration gardens around that concept that's coming up in the next year, year and a half. And we'll have a field day experience for our CCE educators to get them all up to speed on that kind of gardening practice.

So we've got a lot of fun things coming up, things we've been waiting to do and building over time. But just overall, I'm just excited that we have these great programs already in place that can address some of these things that are happening right now. And I'm really excited, as CCE has recently hired two community garden-focused educators in Rochester and in New York City to do even more outreach to different cultural groups that we really want to be welcoming into the fold of Master Gardener program as well some day.

I'm actually very positive that we're making a lot of strides on a lot of these things concurrently. But we're doing it over time and in a way that I hope will really help people to stay inspired and keep the enthusiasm for gardening going.

PAUL TREADWELL: Thanks for listening to this episode, Extension Out Loud was produced and edited by Paul Treadwell, with help from Katie Baildon.

KATIE BAILDON: For more about this episode, including show notes and more, visit And be sure to subscribe to Extension Out Loud on your favorite podcast directory.

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