Urban Programming Report for 2018

Center for Urban Agriculture – Urban Programming Report for 2018

The Center for Urban Agriculture team magnifies the impact of Urban Extension through agent program support and advancement, innovative training programs, tools, and resources; fostering communications and outreach through newsletters, articles, alerts, publications, videos, and social media; organizing new initiatives and grant writing; collaborating on interdisciplinary projects and research; advancing and updating current program training materials; and administering multi-year programs and projects.

Key Focus Areas:

  • Agent support: collaboration on programs, research, agent resources, and special projects
  • Specialist support: collaboration on interdisciplinary initiatives, research, and grants
  • Urban water quality and management
  • Industry safety
  • School and community gardens
  • Pollinator health
  • Urban Ag industry outreach and training, labor force shortages, consumer education, best management practices
  • Collaboration and innovation using the latest available technologies

Recent Activity and Highlights:

1 . Urban Water Quality and Management:

  • Created and staffed a new statewide urban irrigation and water management agent position, bringing the talents of Rolando Orellana to the center team.
  • Established an irrigation and water management advisory board with industry representation
  • Developed a calendar of water-related training programs for industry and urban agents
  • Facilitated a University membership with the Irrigation Association
  • Developing issue-specific fact sheets on water usage and management for the industry and homeowners in urban centers
  • Working with individual companies to provide in-house training to landscape workers
  • Identifying potential irrigation training and research sites and is working with industry to develop programs and collaborations
  • Over the past two years, the center provided irrigation and water management training to 177 landscape practitioners and 33 urban agents.

2 . Green Industry Programming and Support:

  • The center collaborates and partners with urban agents and professional organizations to bring Extension outreach and develop and implement industry training programs, coordinate instructional support, moderate sessions, and assist with CEU approval and reporting. Examples include:
    • Edge Expo (Now “Landscape Pro University and Expo”), Urban Ag Council and Site One
    • Wintergreen, Georgia Green Industry Association
    • Turfgrass Research Field Day Ancillary Sessions, Urban Ag Council
  • The Center assisted agents and specialists with 70 educational events across the state, providing 307 hours of training to 2,992 people, collecting $42,670 in gross revenue.  Agents, departments, and the Northwest District utilized this service, which included program promotion, registration, and food service.
  • The Georgia Pollinator Census was conducted in September 2017 and was repeated in September 2018. This is a small census that is serving as a pilot project for the larger Great Georgia Pollinator Census in 2019 (https://GGaPC.org)

3 . Development and Maintenance of Web-Based Resources and Applied Technology

  • Getting the Best of Pests Webinar Training Series – an innovative collaboration with the Center led by Drs. Dan Suiter, Bodie Pennisi, and Shimat Joseph is now in its second year and continues to gain popularity as word gets out about this new mode of delivery for approved Georgia Department Agriculture pesticide CEUs.
    • From January 2017 through July 2018 the Team has trained 1,077 commercial and private license holders granting 2,154 CEUs during that time.
    • 86 county hosted events have been held.
    • 10 of the green industry webinars have aired with 19 speakers from across the country.
  • The Georgia Professional Certifications site trains prospective commercial, private, and GCAPP license holders statewide (a partnership between the Department of Entomology and the Center for Urban Agriculture).
    • Prepares test takers for their exams.
    • Generates a constant stream of new clientele for CEU training.
    • 1,625 students actively enrolled in current courses on the site.
  • The Center continues to develop and advance innovative web-based agent resources, training provides ongoing support and advancement of the online training and study sites including: Safety Training for Landscape Workers (English and Spanish), Tree Worker Safety Training, the Journeyman Farmer Certificate Training Program, Master Gardener Training, School Garden Teacher Training, and Getting the Best of Pests Webinar Series. The Georgia Certified Landscape Professional Training Course, Georgia Certified Plant Professional Training Course, SuperCrew (English and Spanish), GGIA Junior Certification.
  • The 40 Gallon Challenge – online water conservation education program was updated with the generous help of UGA OIT and is now fully accessible on a mobile platform. The redesign was recognized by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals (AMCP) with a dotComm Gold Award.
  • Study sites for the Georgia Certified Landscape and Plant Professional programs.

4 . Grants, Research, and Collaborations with the Green Industry:

  • The center identifies, pursues, and administers grants and funding for research and training programs that benefit urban agriculture.
  • The center hosted the strategic planning meeting for the National Initiative for Consumer Horticulture in Atlanta June 27–29.
    • Over 80 participants from academia, industry, and the public sector attended to generate a national strategic plan for consumer horticulture.
  • Extension Innovation Award Project – Benton, E., B. Griffin, E. Bauske, B. Pennisi, K. Braman, P. Pugliese, J. Fuder, K. Toal, B. Kelley, and L. Murrah-Hanson. Trees for Bees: Helping Georgians Improve Pollinator Habitats in the Urban and Suburban Landscape. Extension Innovation Awards. $8,000.
  • The Pollinator Spaces Project continues certifying pollinator spaces. There are currently 125 certified gardens in 33 counties.
  • Other Examples:
    • OSHA Landscape and Arborist resources development grant.
    • OSHA Emergency Response Grant for Chainsaw Users in the South and North Carolina impacted by Hurricane Florence.
    • City of Savannah Green Infrastructure to Green Jobs Initiative – The center is working with the city to develop and provide Extension outreach and training related to urban trees through a grant from the Kendeda Foundation.

5 . Professional Certification for the Industry

  • The Center promotes, coordinates, and administers the Georgia Certified Landscape Professional, Georgia Certified Plant Professional Programs, and Junior Certification program. The Center distributed 109 professional certification study manuals, tested 84 industry practitioners, and certified 67 industry practitioners.
  • A multi-year initiative to overhaul of the Georgia Certified Landscape Professional study materials, testing format, and study site is ongoing. The new study manual is being restructured as a four-part text that aligns with industry career segments and workforce training programs. Upon completion, the new material is expected to invigorate and advance the long-standing program and serve as the industry standard for green industry practitioners.
  • Promote industry advancement and lifelong learning through certification and a variety of strategic training opportunities.

6 . Green Industry Labor and Workforce Challenges:

  • Extension Innovation Award Project – Pennisi, B., G. Huber. Empowering the New Landscape Entrepreneur: Increasing Profitability through Business Training and Professional Certification. Extension Innovation Awards. $7,000.
  • The center partners with Georgia High School Ag Education and green industry professional organizations to offer junior certification, testing 120 junior participants and certifying 12 youth in 2018.
  • CEFGA (Construction Education Foundation of Georgia) – The center partners with the Urban Ag Council each year to promote green industry careers and educational opportunities to over 7,000 high school students at this event. (Participated in 2016, 2017. In 2018 the center was not able to attend due to a schedule conflict, but plans to continue participation in this event.)

7. Green Industry Communication and Engagement:

  • The center actively engages the green industry through professional organization memberships, event attendance, meetings, newsletters, and collaborations.
  • Landscape Alerts from the Center for Urban Agriculture and Extension Specialists communicate timely topics critical to over 1,700 urban clientele and industry subscribers by email and web.
  • Saw Safety Newsletter -The web and email based newsletter round out another successful year posting 87 issues to date, the weekly safety newsletter for the tree care industry is sent to 400 individuals and is further distributed by management within tree care companies.
  • The Community & School Garden blog has been delivering weekly articles for over four years. The parent homepage (ugaurbanag.com) receives approximately 19,000 page views a month.
  • The Homeowner’s Association project continues to deliver monthly articles for homeowner associations representing over 23,000 residents.

Recent Extension Publications in collaboration with the Center for Urban Agriculture:

  • Joseph, S., & Bauske, E. M. (2017). Management of turfgrass insect pests and pollinator protection (C1127)
  • Bauske, E. M., Pennisi, S., Braman, S. K., & Buck, J. W. (2017). Native Plants, Drought Tolerance, and Pest Resistance (C1122)
  • Benton, E. & Griffin, B. (2018). Creating pollinator nesting boxes to help native bees. University of Georgia Cooperative Extension (C1125)
  • Pennisi S., Braman S., Huber G., Benton E. (2017) Shade Gardens for Pollinators. (UGA Cooperative Extension AR4). Available at https://secure.caes.uga.edu/filesharing/?referenceInterface=FILE_SET&subInterface=detail_main&pk_id=2754
  • Pennisi S., Huber G. Critical Evaluation of Green Industry Certification Programs in Georgia. Manual HortScience 52 (9) S26 01 Dec 2017
  • Waltz FC, Huber G. (2017). Aerification: Restoring Turfgrass Carbohydrate Reserves. Manual. Internet publication. Available at https://ugaurbanag.com/aerification-restoring-turfgrass-carbohydrate-reserves/

Refereed Journal Articles:

  • Dorn, S. T., Newberry, M. G., Bauske, E. M., & Pennisi, S. V. (2018). Extension Master Gardener Volunteers of the 21st Century: Educated, Prosperous, and Committed. HORTTECHNOLOGY, 28(2), 218–229. doi: 10.21273/HORTTECH03998–18
  • Bradley, L. K., Behe, B. K., Bumgarner, N. R., Glen, C. D., Donaldson, J. L., Bauske, E. M., … Langellotto, G. (2017). Assessing the Economic Contributions and Benefits of Consumer Horticulture. HORTTECHNOLOGY, 27(5), 591–598. doi: 10.21273/HORTTECH03784–17
  • Griffin, B. & Braman, K. 2018. Expanding Pollinator Habitat Through a Statewide Initiative. Journal of Extension [Online], 56(2) Article 2IAW6. Available at https://www.joe.org/joe/2018april/iw6.php
  • Bauske, E. M., Cruickshank, J., & Hutcheson, W. (2018). Healthy Life Community Garden: food and neighborhood transformation. In Acta Horticulturae. Athens, Greece

Popular Press:

CAES Newswire Articles:

Landscape Alerts and Updates:

Videos:

Awards & Recognition:

  • Extension Materials Award, May 31, 2018
    Extension Division Of the American Society for Horticultural Science
    Nominated by: Bauske EM; Martinez-Espinoza A; Orellana R; Kelley P
    Video Award
  • Bronze Award, May 1, 2018
    Association of Natural Resource Extension Professionals
    Nominated by: Bauske EM; Hutcheson W; Maddy B; Orellana R; Peiffer G; Kolich H; Kelley P
    In Recognition of Outstanding Educational Materials
  • Urban Ag Innovations Award, November 15, 2017
    Georgia Center for Urban Agriculture
    Nominated by: Hutcheson W; Bauske EM; Kolich H; Maddy B; Pieffer G; Phillip K; Orellana R
    Received for the Saw Safety Newsletter
  • dotCOMM Gold Award,
    Received for 40 Gallon Challenge redesign, Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals (AMCP)
  • Journal Cover Photo: Georgia Entomological Society Conference – pollinator photo chosen for 2018 journal cover.

Squash Problem Cheat Sheet

October is Farm to School Month and this year in Georgia we are celebrating with Oh My Squash!. Several of you have grown squash with success and several of you have grown it with less success. For future reference we have created this squash problem cheat sheet. As you plan for your next crop of squash, keep these techniques in mind:

SquashPestManagementFactsheet_Print

Wishing you a bright squash gardening future!

Serve Squash Year-Round – A Guest Post from Bob Westerfield

October is Farm to School Month and this year Georgia is celebrating with Oh My Squash! You can visit the project webpage for more information on how to participate. Many of you may be growing a late crop of squash for this campaign so I thought it was worth reposting Bob Westerfield’s article on growing squash. He is a UGA horticulturalist and our go-to guy for vegetable production.   Bob writes:

To most Southern gardeners, fried yellow squash or grilled zucchini are staples on the table during the summer. Serving up home grown winter squash in the fall is worthy of bragging rights.

While normally easy to grow, the endless choice of varieties and numerous garden pests have made growing squash a little more challenging. Squash come in an endless assortment of shapes, sizes and colors. Choosing the right variety can seem daunting. The squash vine borer, a persistent pest, has caused some gardeners to give up on growing squash.

Read moreServe Squash Year-Round – A Guest Post from Bob Westerfield

Oh My Squash! Farm to School Month 2019

October is Farm to School Month and schools and early care centers across Georgia are celebrating all things squash!  Oh My Squash! is a state-wide celebration to get kids eating, growing and participating in squash-themed activities. UGA Cooperative Extension is a partner in the project and we are excited about the month! To participate in Oh My Squash at your school, early care center, or in your community, visit the webpage.

Squash plant
Squash plants in the garden

Participants will receive free electronic resources to help you plan and implement your activities.  Resources include standards-based lesson plans, quick activities, recipes, videos, school garden planting and harvesting information, and more!

The first 300 people to sign-up will be mailed a free packet of squash seeds, washable squash tattoos, and a Georgia Planting and Harvest Calendar for school gardens. Share your Oh My Squash pictures and activities on social media with #ohmysquash.

Each week during October, anyone who uses this hashtag will be entered to win a gift card and at the end of the month, we will have a grand prize winner of a two day education pass to the Georgia Organics Conference on Feb. 7-8, 2020 in Athens (a $425 value)!

As you plan your Oh My Squash! activities use your local UGA Cooperative Extension office. They can assist with ideas on preparing squash taste tests for the classroom and advice on growing and harvesting the squash in your school garden.

Happy Gardening and Eating!

The School Garden and Your Classroom Curriculum

Little Red school house

School is back in session over most of the state and with that school gardens are being used in curriculum. Hopefully teachers came back to a neat and weed-free space. In the perfect world, teachers would come back to crops planted and paths cleared. If neither of those is your school, you definitely have some work to do this year in building your school garden committee!

Over the coming weeks we will be exploring how to tie your school garden into your classroom curriculum. I look forward to hearing from you all on ideas that you have as well.

This week I want to make sure that all educators are aware of the Great Georgia Pollinator Census. This is happening Friday, August 23rd and Saturday, August 24th. This program is perfect for school gardeners. I have been working with teachers across the state to help them craft events for their students. All that is needed is pollinator garden or an area with several pollinator plants blooming during the census.

For fifteen minutes, participants count insects that land on a favorite pollinator plant and place the insects into categories:

Carpenter Bees
Bumble Bees
Honey Bees
Small Bees
Wasps
Flies
Butterflies/Moths
Other Insects

The Insect Counting & Identification Guide is found on the website and is the key to success with the project. The observation sheet can be printed and carried to the garden and actual counts will be uploaded to the website. You do not need a strong entomology background to be successful with this project.

Two years of pilot projects helped us refine the project and make it ideal for upper elementary through high school students. It fits in perfectly with STEAM curriculums. The website also has a special page for educators with ideas on how to use the census with your students. We also have a Facebook group, Georgia Pollinator Census, where educators have been sharing ideas.

Happy Gardening!

Planning Your Georgia Fall Vegetable Garden

Although the thermometer is rising above ninety on a daily basis and our Georgia humidity is, well, the typical Georgia humidity, it is time to do some serious thinking about your fall garden.

Did you make notes on your summer garden? Making notes about which varieties performed well for you, what pests plagued you, and your overall satisfaction from your warm-season garden will be useful as you plan for 2020. Also, make note of plant arrangement so you can practice crop rotation next year.

Think Green. Fall is the time for lettuce, spinach, collards, mustard greens and kale. Your seed catalogs will show you that there are so many varieties of lettuce that you couldn’t possibly grow them all. Do try a few new ones. They could make a real difference in the taste of your salads. I really enjoy the lettuce variety Drunken Woman!

Bush beans can be a part of your early fall garden. A planting of bush beans towards the end of summer may produce a nice crop for you if we don’t get an early frost. Take note of the days until harvest count and look for something in the lower numbers. Look for varieties that are resistant to rusts and keep a close eye on them for pests like Mexican bean beetles.

Don’t forget root crops. Short day onions and garlic are a MUST for any cool-season garden. Plant these root crops as sets and let them go until the spring. It is easy to grow all the garlic you will need for the year by careful planning. Make sure to mulch the crop.

Finally, if you don’t plan to grow a cool-season crop consider growing a cover crop. Cover crops can hold down weeds while enriching your soil. At the very least please be courteous to your fellow community gardeners and clean out your plot, removing plant debris that could harbor pests and weeds that could produce seeds that you will deal with later.

Cooler weather is on the way! Happy Gardening!

Farm to School National Act of 2019

On Thursday, June 27th, a bipartisan group of Congressional leaders introduced the Farm to School Act of 2019 (H.R. 3562, S. 2026). The bill, which is co-sponsored by Georgia’s own David Perdue, will expand funding and opportunities for farmers and educational institutions through the USDA Farm to School Grant Program.

The Farm to School Act would:

Increase annual funding to $15 million and increasing the grant award maximum to $250,000.

Advance equity by prioritizing grants that engage diverse farmers and serve high-need schools.

Fully include early care and education sites, summer food service sites & after school programs.

Increase access among tribal schools to traditional foods, especially from tribal producers.

The Farm to School Grant program has turned away approximately 80% of qualified applicants due to lack of funds so this new bill comes at a good time. The farm to school movement is truly a grassroots effort. Georgia’s Farm to School Network is made up of several collaborative partners working on school nutrition, farmer opportunity, and school gardens.

This bill goes hand-in-hand with the Georgia Agricultural Education Act (Georgia State Senate Bill 330) which was signed by Governor Nathan Deal in 2018.

It is exciting to see these forward steps in agricultural education.

Happy Gardening!

A Look at Victory Gardens for July the 4th

Around the July 4th holiday it is fun to think about our collective American history.  Gardens have always been a part of that. The Victory Garden movement during World War II is fascinating.

A Look at Victory Gardens

A shortage of farm labor developed during World War II that made it difficult to get crops harvested.  Add to that the gasoline and rubber shortages which made it difficult to get the crops to the market.  In response the US government started promoting Victory Gardens, encouraging people in more urban environments to grow food crops.

It is estimated that 20 million Americans did their gardening duty and produced 9-10 million tons of food.  This equated to roughly half the vegetables grown in the US at that time.  This initiative also freed up canned goods for the troops.

Schools even got involved creating school Victory Gardens.

A Look at Victory Gardens
A school Victory Garden in New York. Photo from the Library of Congress.

Businesses jumped on board this promotion.  One popular Coca-Cola advertisement stated, “There is a Victory Garden in almost every back yard this summer, growing food and vitamins for the family.  The owners are so proud of their vegetables as of their specimen roses or dahlias.  Friends in work clothes come over to admire and compare crops.  They eat tomatoes right off the vine and crunch carrots fresh from the earth.”  The advertisement goes on to say that serving Coca-Cola is the correct hospitality in a Victory Garden.

The US government encouraged Victory Gardens during World War I as well but the movement wasn’t as massive.  This Department of Agriculture and Commerce promotion from that time is almost comical.  Who is this woman suppose to be?  Notice the expression on her face and her very toned arms. Who gardens in sandals?   She is going to have alot of thinning to do if all those seeds germinate.

 

A Look at Victory Gardens

I would like to have a copy of the books advertised at the bottom of the poster:  Write to the National War Garden Commission ~Washington, D.C. for free books on gardening, canning, and drying.

After World War II the interest in home vegetable gardening waned.  It seems people were interested in peacetime activities and conveniences, including purchasing vegetables at the market.

Vegetable gardening is a large part of our American heritage.  From colonial kitchens to victory/war gardens to community gardens to a garden at the White House.  It is great to be a part of it.

Happy  4th of July!

Horticultural Therapy in the Garden

On Monday I was privileged to be part of a Community/School/Charity Garden Symposium in Hendersonville, North Carolina sponsored by Steve Pettis of North Carolina Cooperative Extension. One of the presenters was John Murphy, the director of Bullington Gardens. His lecture was so impressive that I wanted to share a bit of it with you.

Bullington Gardens is located in Hendersonville and is a partner with North Carolina Cooperative Extension and Henderson County Public Schools. Mr. Murphy has a Master of Science degree in horticulture and is a registered horticultural therapist and a certified teacher. He puts these skills to good use when he works with his passion of helping challenged students in the garden.

Over 10% of Henderson County students are challenged learners. For those students with physical challenges John works with them on pushing their boundaries using the garden as the setting. For one student holding a trowel was a challenge but being in the garden and possibly working in the soil was motivation and over time that student held that trowel. This is just one of many successes at Bullington Gardens.

John also works with students who have communication challenges and those in high school who are being groomed to head to the work place. He hosts a group of intern workers each year who are asked to design a garden at the end of their experience. At the beginning of the internship several students feel that task is impossible. By the end, with the help of John and his volunteers, the garden projects are completed and the students are awed at what they can do. John says his goal is to bring joy to those students who work in the garden and he certainly seems to do just that.

As community gardeners we know that the garden is powerful. The group at Bullington Gardens just gave us another reason why.

Happy Gardening!