Hobart and William Smith Colleges and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ontario County – through the Growing Geneva Together Community Garden Coalition (GGTCG) – are seeking people to become volunteer garden educators to share their passion for growing vegetables and help beginner gardeners get started in their communities.
Through the training program, volunteers become Seed to Supper Garden Educators, learning the skills necessary to facilitate six free gardening “Seed to Supper” sessions in Geneva. Seed to Supper Garden Educators support program participants through peer to peer education as they learn to plan, plant and harvest their garden produce—ultimately increasing access to fresh fruits and vegetables and improving overall food security.
Preparation for volunteer educators will be held at Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church Fellowship Hall (70 Clark St., Geneva) on Saturday, Feb. 24 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., as well as a follow up meeting Monday, March 12 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Those who would like to volunteer as a Seed to Supper Garden Educator should be available to attend training on both days.
The preparatory program will “train” volunteers to facilitate free vegetable gardening classes in Geneva, as Ontario County’s pilot program. Volunteers will gain familiarity with the program’s curriculum and learn hands-on activities they can use when teaching class sessions.
Volunteer Seed to Supper Garden Educators will work in small groups to lead community class sessions, and will be provided with the materials needed to run the classes independently for program participants. Topics include planning the garden, soil preparation, composting, planting, garden maintenance, pests and diseases and harvesting. There is no cost for the volunteer training on Feb. 24 (lunch provided) or March 12. The gardening classes will be offered for free as well.
The goals of the New York State Seed to Supper project aligns with those of its founder, the Oregon Food Bank, which is working to create a long-term solution to hunger by giving people the confidence and ability to be more resilient to economic hardship.
GGTCG is a local garden initiative led by the HWS Finger Lakes Institute’s Food Systems Program. GGTCG’s mission is to strengthen community bonds and enrich the quality of life in Geneva by providing space and opportunity for residents and members of surrounding communities to join together to grow healthy food in a sustainable manner. GGTCG hosts more than 15 edible gardens that are individually managed by community residents, schools, neighborhoods and committees and are in various levels of establishment.
For more information about Seed to Supper and the upcoming training for Ontario County, email Russ Welser at firstname.lastname@example.org. Pre-registration for the Feb. 24 training is required by emailing Sarah Meyer at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more about the GGTCG at: https://www.facebook.com/growinggeneva/.