URI Master Gardener Program
URI Master Gardeners participate in meaningful volunteer activities that protect environmental quality, improve the local food system and build healthier communities. The URI Master Gardener Program utilizes the train-the-trainer approach to amplify the impact of Cooperative Extension in Rhode Island and surrounding areas. Community-minded lifelong learners of all ages are encouraged to apply.
The URI Master Gardener Core Training is a fourteen-week course for lifelong learners on the fundamentals of horticulture taught by URI faculty, extension educators and local experts. Graduates of the URI Master Gardener Core Training serve as grassroots educators, bringing the science base of the land grant university system to residents, children, community gardeners and families. URI Master Gardener volunteers have a positive impact locally, while continuing to learn about cutting-edge gardening practices and functional gardening. Our volunteers:
- Provide research-based information at farmer’s markets, local events, in-garden presentations, school gardens and through the hotline and email service.
- Grow food for local food pantries and empower community gardeners, youth and families to grow their own food and cook with fresh, healthy ingredients.
- Display cutting edge gardening techniques in demonstration gardens to encourage gardening for biodiversity, water quality improvement and increased yields in small spaces.
The Core Training curriculum, taught by URI faculty, staff and industry experts include:
- Soil science and plant nutrition
- Botany and plant propagation
- Plant diseases
- Organic gardening techniques
- Food Safety
- Gardening for wildlife and water quality
- Sustainable turf management
- Vegetable production
- Fruit production
Each student receives access to online course readings with take-home quizzes and in-class activities to solidify concepts. Optional hands-on Saturday sessions allow students to go more in-depth into certain topic areas. Upon successful completion of the URI Master Gardener Program, trainees become “URI Master Gardener Interns” and are required to complete 50 hours of volunteer service to earn the title of certified “URI Master Gardener”. This “on-the-job” training allows participants to extend their learning by working in teams on approved projects throughout Rhode Island and surrounding communities.
State Program Leader | URI Master Gardener Program
Program Development Specialist