Hero Image

Healthy Communities

 University of California Master Gardeners encourage a healthier community and healthier gardeners throughout the state. UC Master Gardeners encourage the public to eat more fruits and vegetables by enhancing local, sustainable, healthy food systems for families, neighborhoods, and communities. Programs increase gardening, horticulture, and science literacy through quality education and local community outreach. Community members learn new skills, get outside and exercise, meet new people, and gain a better understanding of different cultures.

Below are just a few examples of the many outstanding projects developed by UC Master Gardeners throughout the state,. Visit your local program website for a full listing of projects in your county. 

Carthay Center Elementary School, Before and After
Los Angeles, Calif. – UC Master Gardeners of Los Angeles County have a passion for connecting the public to where their food comes from and believe the connection begins at a young age. More than 300 UC Master Gardeners have volunteered in 477 school gardens across Los Angeles County, reaching more than 82,000 students, teachers, and administrators annually. 

“Since 2006, more than 2,100 students have participated in the Garden of Possibilities at Carthay Center which links hands-on gardening and outdoor learning to the states science standards. Once an unused asphalted area, the 5,000 sq. foot garden has become an integral part of the school’s identity.  The students love the hands-on approach to science and have become interested in learning about their environments, healthier eating and making an impact in the world.” – Louisa Cardenas, UC Master Gardener of Los Angeles County

UC Master Gardeners of Los Angeles are passionate about giving educators and parents the tools needed to develop and maintain a sustainable school garden that fosters a healthy learning environment, while connecting youth to healthy organic foods.

Our Garden, UCCE Contra Costa County - © University of California

Contra Costa County, Calif. – UC Master Gardeners of Contra Costa County partnered with the Contra Costa Times and founded Our Garden in 2009. The garden provides a bountiful growing space and in-depth workshops.

“The Monument Crisis Center serves low income families and individuals in Contra Costa County through dynamic service programs focused on providing nutritious food, education, general assistance and referrals.  We believe that healthy families help create overall community wellness.  The six tons of produce that UC Master Gardeners donated over the last year have gone on to help provide 15,000 low income households in Contra Costa County fresh, straight from the earth nutrition.” Sandra Scherer, The Monument Crisis Center

Our Garden is an ongoing, collaborative edibles demonstration garden. All food produced by Our Garden is donated to the Monument Crisis Center.  More than 12,000 pounds of organic fresh fruits and vegetables have been donated to the center.

UCCE San Diego County - © University of California
San Diego, Calif. - UC Master Gardeners of San Diego County worked with the Braille Institute of San Diego to develop a series of classes for the blind and visually impaired. The International Search for Excellence award-winning horticultural therapy and educational program offered participants educational gardening techniques that focused on the sense of touch. 

“I stopped gardening when I lost my sight 10 years ago, now I have started again ... I learned to take care of plants, I had never gardened before ... I learned the textures, the simplicity and the beauty in different plants ... It renewed my interest in gardening and taught me how to prune ... It made me conscientious about watering ... I am excited about ‘seeing’ our plants grow... I have more confidence in watering practices ... I love to show off things I made.” - Program participants, Braille Institute of San Diego

Volunteers reported it as the most rewarding volunteer effort they had experienced. They established horticulture teaching methods for a special population and gave participants who may have difficulty gardening a chance to do so.