Master Gardener program grows due to donation

JAMESTOWN – The Cornell Cooperative Exten-sion Master Gardeners of Chautauqua County recently were given a substantial donation of equipment and supplies from Creating Healthy Places to Live, Work and Play. This initiative, sponsored locally by the Chautauqua County Health Network, funded the supplies for the Master Gardener program which will increase its capacity for providing gardening education and improve health and wellness throughout the county.

Creating Healthy Places to Live, Work and Play in Chautauqua County is part of a statewide initiative funded by the New York State Department of Health to promote healthy lifestyles and prevent obesity and type 2 diabetes. Obesity among children and adolescents has tripled over the past three decades. Currently one-third of New York’s children are obese or overweight. CHP is working closely with a variety of partners to create policy, systems and environmental changes in order to increase access to healthy foods and provide opportunities for physical activity.

Included in the donation was nearly $200 worth of resource books for the Master Gardener Helpdesk and for use by Master Gardeners in preparing community education presentations. In addition, more than $1,600 worth of equipment and gardening supplies were donated for the Demonstration Gardens located at the Frank Bratt Ag Center. Among the supplies are trellises for the vegetables, seed starting equipment including a 3-tiered light system, a produce scale, handheld digital microscope and two varieties of handicapped-accessible raised beds. Through-out the growing season area gardeners will be able to attend educational sessions with Master Gardeners at the Demonstration Gar-dens.

Creating Healthy Places Project Coordinator Janet Forbes said, “We are delighted with our partnership with the Master Gardeners and this opportunity to provide them with additional resources to expand their educational offerings to the community. By teaching both beginning and experienced gardeners new techniques for growing their own food, the Master Gardeners play a vital role in helping to improve the health and well being of our Chautauqua County residents.”

For more information on the Master Gardener Pro-gram, contact Betsy Bur-geson; 664.9502 X 204 or emh92@cornell.edu