MASTER GARDENERS : Mission and History
The Master Gardener Program began in Washington State in 1972. Dr. David Gibby, an extension agent for horticulture created the program in response to the overwhelming number of requests for gardening information. Volunteers were trained in horticulture to provide gardening information to the public. Master Gardener programs now operate in forty five states and four provinces in Canada.
In 1985, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) reviewed ways to provide horticultural information to the public. One of the ideas presented was the American Master Gardener program. Experienced gardeners were recruited by local horticultural societies. The volunteers were introduced to the program at an orientation session, wrote an eligibility test, received local training on soil management, communication skills, pest and disease diagnostics and control as well as enrolling in the Horticulture Independent Study Courses from the University of Guelph . In return, the participants provided horticultural information to the public via garden clinics, telephone, letters, displays, workshops, television, radio and newspaper articles.
History of the Mississauga Master Gardeners
The Mississauga Master Gardeners group was formed in March 1994. Unlike other MG groups in the province of Ontario at that time, this was the first group self-funded by its members.
Initial start-up funds were advanced by Cloverleaf Garden Club of Mississauga, the Mississauga Garden Council (now The Riverwood Conservancy), donations from various Horticultural groups in District 15, who were responsible for the original application to the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food. The Ministry provided us with some reference books and administrative advice.
Fifteen interested and dedicated people from the region began their studies of Horticultural 1,2,3, prepared by the University of Guelph. Meetings were held at Chappell House on the Riverwood property and continued to be operated there for many years, under an agreement with the Garden Council.
The group was also honoured in 2004 by Mayor Hazel McCallion with the presentation of a ‘Civic Award of Recognition’ for their commitment to volunteerism in more than 10 years of community involvement devoted to providing the public with gardening education.
In 2014, we celebrated 20 years of service to gardening in our community. We look forward to continued growth and many more years of contribution.