These educational programs focus on horticulture’s importance and impact on daily life.
More specifically, this objective encompasses ecosystem services as well as the economic impacts of green infrastructure and planted landscapes on local communities and economies. It addresses the proper design, installation, and maintenance practices that provide economic benefits to both the individuals and the community. With youth, it seeks to increase the understanding of the value of horticulture, provide skills for horticulture based activates, and to increase responsibility and leadership. For others, by increasing this understanding, the educational programs promote knowledge and skills that further personal health as well as a healthier workplace and community. Programs such as horticulture therapy work in nursing home facilities, rehabilitation hospitals, and hospices in order to increase the quality of life. Included in this program is health related topics, such as proper use of toxic chemicals, how protection against skin cancer, and safe use of garden equipment.
Examples of how Master Gardeners are employing the Economic and Social Impacts of Horticulture SLM throughout the commonwealth:
Unit – Virginia Beach Master Gardeners
Project – Junior Master Gardener Summer Camp
Description – Held in one of the city parks, these weeklong camps give children the opportunity to learn about gardening and explore nature through hands on activities and crafts. Each day has a theme such as Plant Day and activities are planned according to that theme. A favorite activity is the nature scavenger hunt where campers collect seeds and leaves, make bark rubbings and measure the circumference of a tree.
Unit– Albemarle Master Gardeners
Project– Free to Grow
Description– Several Albemarle Master Gardeners work with women in the re-entry program at Albemarle Charlottesville Regional Jail. They teach 90-minute gardening classes once a week. These classes help give inmates of the local jail an appreciation for the benefits and pleasures of growing things and to equip them with the basic knowledge and resources to succeed after their re-entry into society.
Unit – Bedford Master Gardeners
Project – Therapeutic Gardening
Description – The mission of the program is to provide education for therapeutic gardening that will result in fitness, confidence, motivation, and well-being; and improve social and community life for residents living in senior living facilities. Quality of life is improved by their active participation and involvement in the gardening community.