Our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion
We are proud to be taking significant strides in improving DEI efforts across the UC Master Gardener Program. Our mission is to empower Californians to improve their lives and communities through gardening. It is critically important to ensure that the program is accessible to everyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, age, socioeconomic status, or other factors. To achieve this goal, the UC Master Gardener Program has been actively working to promote DEI initiatives in various ways.
In 2021 & 2022, the UC Master Gardener Program:
- … provided inclusive and accessible education and training opportunities. We continue to work on providing resources in multiple languages to ensure that language differences do not prevent people from participating in the program. Additionally, we are creating gardens and event locations that are welcoming and inclusive for all participants, regardless of their physical abilities. This includes expanding the range of activities and projects that are specifically designed for children, seniors, and people with disabilities. In Contra Costa County, Spanish-speaking volunteers created Jardineros, a team that helps Spanish-speaking residents with gardening basics and growing food. They offer virtual and in-person gardening classes, partner with community organizations, and provide support to Spanish-speaking clients. The Jardineros team aims to expand partnerships, participate in cultural events, and share its skills and resources with other UC Master Gardener programs in the future.
- … partnered with community-based organizations, schools, and other institutions to promote gardening as a tool for community building. By leveraging resources and supporting partners in areas where they identify needs, we cultivate beautiful partnerships. For example, Islah Academy in South Los Angeles, a K-8 Islamic community school, wanted to green their school and develop gardening skills. This led to a partnership with UC Master Gardener volunteers from Los Angeles County. Together, they have given gardening lessons and planted raised beds and vertical food gardens in trash cans. They now plan to add fruit trees to the school’s campus by 2023. “As Master Gardeners, we often are lucky enough to work on a garden project that gives us the opportunity to be the bringers of joy, magic, and wonderment,” says Sum-Sum Chan, a UC Master Gardener volunteer. “The students at Islah Academy made my job so easy—their enthusiasm and excitement to learn about the flowers and vegetables to be planted was contagious.”
- … focused efforts on increasing the diversity of the program’s volunteer base. Through outreach and recruitment efforts, the program strives to attract more diverse volunteers who bring a wide range of experiences and perspectives. This helps to broaden the program’s reach and ensure that it is more representative of the communities we serve. Some counties have started recruiting and offering hybrid training classes with self-paced book learning that takes place online. Hands-on learning is offered in the evenings after the traditional workday has ended. We continue to learn about more inclusive ways to host our program and will foster adoption of best practices statewide.