Mas­ter Gar­dener train­ing course be­gins Fe­bru­ary

Maryland Independent - - News -

Mas­ter gar­den­ers are vol­un­teer ed­u­ca­tors of the Univer­sity of Mary­land Ex­ten­sion who ed­u­cate res­i­dents to gar­den more ef­fec­tively and sus­tain­ably. They do this in part through projects at schools, li­braries and pub­lic events.

To be­come a mas­ter gar­dener, adults must take a train­ing course and then con­trib­ute at least 40 hours of vol­un­teer ser­vice with the pro­gram that year. Each fol­low­ing year, vol­un­teers com­plete at least 20 ser­vice hours and 10 con­tin­u­ing ed­u­ca­tion hours. In 2016, Mas­ter Gar­den­ers logged al­most 4,000 hours of vol­un­teer ser­vice in Charles County.

The 2017 mas­ter gar­dener ba­sic train­ing course will be held 6 to 9 p.m. Tues­days and Thursdays, Feb. 2 through April 6, at Thomas Stone High School in Wal­dorf. The course cov­ers a range of top­ics such as botany, ecol­ogy, soils, veg­etable gar­den­ing and more.

Stu­dents re­ceive in­struc­tion from ex­ten­sion and other pro­fes­sion­als as well as ex­pe­ri­enced mas­ter gar­den­ers. Those with a Mary­land teach­ing cer­tifi­cate may re­ceive three CPD cred­its for com­plet­ing the course.

Cost for the course is $175 which in­cludes a copy of the Mary­land Mas­ter Gar­dener Hand­book and other course ma­te­ri­als. Space is limited. For more in­for­ma­tion, go to go.umd.edu/be­comemg or con­tact Luke Gustafson at LNG@umd.edu or 301-934-5403.

Be­gin­ning farmers tell their sto­ries in new se­ries

“To­mor­row’s Har­vest: Be­gin­ning Farmers Tell Their Sto­ries,” a project by the South­ern Mary­land Agri­cul­tural De­vel­op­ment Com­mis­sion (SMADC) de­signed to show­case the var­ied faces of new farmers in Mary­land and the value of men­tor­ship in agri­cul­ture, has re­leased a new se­ries of in­ter views fea­tur­ing six farmers.

Participants were drawn from Mary­land Far­mLINK’s Men­tor Match pro­gram, which pairs new farmers, in­clud­ing those branch­ing into new types of farm­ing, with an ex­pe­ri­enced farmer with rel­e­vant ex­per­tise.

The project high­lights the rich di­ver­sity of Mary­land agri­cul­ture that is evolv­ing to re­place the cen­turies-old, sin­gle-crop (to­bacco) model, as well as the var­ied back­grounds of those em­bark­ing on new farm ca­reers to­day. High­lighted farms range from a flower farm in in­ner-city Bal­ti­more to a pro­duce farm on the banks of the Patux­ent River in Brandy­wine. Participants are var­ied as well. Some are young en­trepreneurs build­ing a first busi­ness; oth­ers turned to farm­ing mid-ca­reer.

John laquinta teaches ca­reer skills at a non­profit that pro­vides as­sisted liv­ing and vo­ca­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties to in­di­vid­u­als with de­vel­op­men­tal dis­abil­i­ties in Anne Arun­del County. He is the driv­ing force be­hind cre­at­ing Lang­ton Green Com­mu­nity Farm, a place where de­vel­op­men­tally dis­abled adults make up most of the work­force. He got the idea af­ter vis­it­ing a vo­ca­tional pro­gram on a farm in Cal­i­for­nia.

“I was re­cep­tive to this [con­cept] be­cause it was ex­actly what I wanted to be do­ing per­son­ally,” said laquinta, who had to quickly learn many new farm­ing skills as he worked to get the new farm up and run­ning. “I had a 15-page busi­ness plan on my boss’s desk a week later. I knew that we could re­ally do this.”

laquinta cred­its his men­tor, Scott Hertzberg of Jug Bay Mar­ket Gar­den, with be­ing in­stru­men­tal in set­ting up the farm. “Scott came out to the farm and it was won­der­ful to have a sound­ing board to walk through and tell us if what we wanted to do made sense. We were pur­chas­ing equip­ment so it was help­ful to ask him what size, what at­tach­ments were nec­es­sary, what made sense as an equip­ment pack­age.”

A theme that arises across many of the “To­mor­row’s Har­vest” sto­ries is the in­no­va­tive ways new farmers ac­quire farm­land to­day.

One story chron­i­cles an un­usual sub­ur­ban farm spread across mul­ti­ple lots, in­clud­ing fields in neigh­bor­ing back­yards. “We like to call this ‘cre­ative re­use of sub­ur­ban land’,” said Ja­son James, co-owner of Moon Val­ley Farm. It’s a non-tra­di­tional way to ac­quire farm­land, but the busi­ness is thriv­ing. “I am an op­por­tunist,” said James. “As farmers, I think we have to be.”

Another new farmer, Walker Marsh, carved out farm­land by re­claim­ing ad­joined aban­doned lots in the Broad­way East neigh­bor­hood in Bal­ti­more. ”We had to con­sol­i­date the 13 lots on this half-acre I’m farm­ing, and that took for­ever,” Marsh said. “You have to ap­proach farm­ing dif­fer­ent in the city.”

Priscilla Went­worth, pro­gram di­rec­tor for Mary­land Far­mLINK and the Men­tor Match pro­gram, is in­stru­men­tal in pair­ing the new farmers with men­tors, and feels that men­tor­ship is an im­por­tant re­source for new farmers.

“Pro­grams like the Men- tor Match are in place to keep farm­ing alive in our re­gion,” Went­worth said. “It’s en­cour­ag­ing to see peo­ple choose farm­ing as a ca­reer, not just young peo­ple, but those of all ages. The peo­ple in these sto­ries are the fu­ture of farm­ing, and they are all cre­ative and smart, and re­ally in­ter­est­ing to lis­ten to.”

The be­gin­ning farmer sto­ries can be found at www.smadc.com/NewFarmerS­to­ries.

The Men­tor Match pro­gram ac­cepts ap­pli­ca­tions on a rolling ba­sis. De­tails can be found on the web­site, or by con­tact­ing SMADC.

Soup kitchen serves din­ner twice a week

Our Place Wal­dorf Soup Kitchen serves din­ner 5-6:15 p.m. Mon­days and Thursdays. Hot meals are pro­vided at Good Shep­herd United Methodist Church, 305 Small­wood Drive, Wal­dorf, in a com­fort­able, car­ing, un­bi­ased en­vi­ron­ment to any­one who is hun­gry. Go to www.our­place­wal­dorf.com for more in­for­ma­tion.

Re­cre­ation dept. pro­vides new sports no­ti­fi­ca­tion sys­tem

The De­part­ment of Re­cre­ation, Parks, and Tourism en­cour­ages pro­gram participants and fre­quent fa­cil­ity guests to go to www.RainedOut.com and sign up to re­ceive free text mes­sages or emails re­gard­ing pro­gram or fa­cil­ity can­ce­la­tions and clo­sures due to in­clement weather. The on­line por­tal is now open for regis­tra­tion at www.RainedOut.com, (key­word: Charles County Re­cre­ation) or by tex­ting RPT01 to 84483. In the event of in­clement weather, the De­part­ment of Re­cre­ation, Parks, and Tourism staff will use RainedOut to send im­por­tant no­ti­fi­ca­tions in- clud­ing can­celled events, fa­cil­ity clo­sures, changed plans and re­minders.

Dur­ing the regis­tra­tion process, in­di­vid­u­als can man­age their mes­sage set­tings and pro­vide pre­ferred con­tact in­for­ma­tion. Mes­sage op­tions in­clude no­ti­fi­ca­tions via text mes­sage, email or both. No­ti­fi­ca­tions will also be up­loaded onto the De­part­ment of Re­cre­ation, Parks, and Tourism Face­book and Twit­ter feeds.

RainedOut is pow­ered by Om­nil­ert, a com­pany that de­vel­ops in­tu­itive com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nolo­gies that keep com­mu­ni­ties safe and con­nected. RainedOut is the first text mes­sage ser­vice for sports leagues and clubs. It is a cloud-based ser­vice, which participants may opt in or out at any time, or change their no­ti­fi­ca­tion set­tings.

For more in­for­ma­tion, con­tact the De­part­ment of Re­cre­ation, Parks, and Tourism at 301-932-3470. Cit­i­zens with spe­cial needs may con­tact the Mary­land Re­lay Ser­vice at 711, or Re­lay Ser­vice TDD: 800-735-2258.

Pub­lic in­vited to pro­vide in­put on Hugh­esville Vil­lage Draft Zon­ing

The De­part­ment of Plan­ning and Growth Man­age­ment is de­vel­op­ing new zon­ing reg­u­la­tions for the Vil­lage of Hugh­esville.

The pub­lic is in­vited to pro­vide com­ments and in­put on the draft zon­ing text and map, posted at www.CharlesCoun­tyMD.gov/pgm/plan­ning/hugh­esville-vil­lage-revi-tal­iza­tion-plan-and-im­ple­men­ta­tion. The county is of­fer­ing this ad­di­tional op­por­tu­nity for pub­lic in­put in ad­vance of the re­quired pub­lic hear­ings be­fore the plan­ning com­mis­sion and board of com­mis­sion­ers.

The new zon­ing is a key com­po­nent in im­ple­ment­ing the 2007 Hugh­esville Vil­lage Re­vi­tal­iza­tion Plan, which calls for pro­mot­ing in­fill de­vel­op­ment and re­vi­tal­iza­tion while pre­serv­ing and en­hanc­ing the vil­lage char­ac­ter. The project area con­tains land cur­rently in the Vil­lage Res­i­den­tial (RV), Vil­lage Com­mer­cial (CV), and Light In­dus­trial (IG) zon­ing dis­tricts.

Com­ments may be sent to Amy Blessinger at Bless­ingA@CharlesCoun­tyMD.gov or by mail to Charles County Gov­ern­ment, Attn: Plan­ning Di­vi­sion, P.O. Box 2150, 200 Bal­ti­more Street, La Plata, MD 20646. Send com­ments by Jan. 13.

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