Mecklenburg Family & Consumer Sciences and Extension Master Gardener Volunteers Partnered for a Successful Series
In February of this year, the Mecklenburg Cooperative Extension service set out on a mission to address needs for sustainability education for the local community. After a pilot series in 2013, the Mecklenburg Family and Consumer Sciences and Mecklenburg Master Gardener programs partnered to provide comprehensive sustainability workshops for Mecklenburg County citizens through the Sustainable Living Series. The program was prompted by growing request for resources to teach families how to grow and prepare their own food, improve health and nutrition and reduce their carbon footprint. “I noticed a trend in programs that provided gardening instruction. Yet, many programs failed to provide guidance on how to prepare healthy meals, which is what consumers are requesting,” says Kristin Davis, Local Foods Extension Agent with NC State’s Cooperative Extension.
I am a Catawba Co. resident, and actually drove an hour just to come to these classes! I attended the Landscaping for Beginners and Fall Gardening, and loved both! The best part was an intensive learning environment on specific topics, and the options to learn more in-depth with provided resources and individual conversations with the instructors. It was also helpful to have many other gardeners there to bounce ideas off of! Can’t wait for next year’s series! – Sustainable Living Series Participant
The year-long series initiated with a goal to teach citizens how to grow their own food, prepare nutritious and healthy meals with food they grow or source locally, and ways to reduce their carbon footprint. The series included hands-on workshops on topics such as beginner gardening, canning, creating green cleaners and composting. In addition, the series included lectures on landscape design, understanding our food system and ways to create beautiful gardens on a budget. In a recent feedback survey, series participants indicated overwhelming satisfaction with the Sustainable Living Series. Series evaluations indicated a nearly 100% knowledge gain of participants attending workshops. The survey also provided participants with the opportunity to have input in next year’s series. Participant feedback has been reviewed and will reflect in the 2015 Sustainable Living Series class offerings.