WSU Extension Master Gardener’s Join Gwen

Today on KWPA’s Whidbey Chat, Gwen hosted Island County Master Gardener’s Marcia Nelson and Carolyn Mercer, for a conversation about the Washington State University Extension’s Master Gardener program, how it to get involved, what they do as Master Gardeners, and their upcoming annual Whidbey Gardening Workshop 2011.

During the interview, Gwen found out that the Master Gardener’s program was founded in Washington state, that any Master Gardener program you’ll find in this country can be directly related back to our own state.

The Master Gardener Program is a national program of trained volunteers who work in partnership with their county Extension office to extend information throughout their community. The first Master Gardener program was started in Washington State in 1973. Master Gardeners provide only research-based information, giving the public accurate and tested answers to their questions.

Since joining Master Gardener’s in 2003, Carolyn has enjoyed the education the program requires, the interaction it provides her with the community and the valuable experiences it has brought to her life here on Whidbey.  Likewise Marcia, a Master Gardener since 2001, has fully embraced the program and all that it brought to her life.

Both are fully involved in the upcoming 2011 Whidbey Gardening Workshop, taking place at the Coupeville Middle/High School, March 19, from 9am to 3:30pm.  With over 60 classes to choose from, the event is open to the public at the cost of 35.00, and an additional 8.00 if you’d like to purchase lunch.   Excitedly Carolyn and Marcia shared that their keynote speaker for the event will be Graham Kerr of Galloping Gourmet fame.

Graham Kerr was born in London and grew up around some of the finest chefs in Europe.  He is the author of over 20 cookbooks. His newest, Growing at the Speed of Life, reflects his transition from cooking highly caloric gourmet foods to adopting and promoting a healthier lifestyle that features flavorful lower calorie diets and sustainable living.  Graham and his wife, Treena, live in Mt. Vernon where he grows his own food in a kitchen garden, the inspiration for his new book. Autographed copies of Growing at the Speed of Life can be purchased at the workshop.

For more information on Graham and his current projects go to

Chef Kerr can be seen on Food Network Rachel Ray show on March 2nd.  Tune in for a preview of what you can expect on March 19th at the WSU Extension Master Gardener program. For the first time ever, the man who inspired Rachael joins her in the kitchen for an unforgettable cooking experience – it’s the triumphant return of The Galloping Gourmet!

To hear this KWPA interview with Gwen, Marcia and Carolyn again tune to 96.9fm in the central Whidbey area or stream it on the net fromKWPA’s website Thursday – March 3rd at 9am – and Friday – March 4th at 4pm.

In Island County, Master Gardener training takes place once a year running January through March. The  2011 training will be on-line combined with some class time and field trips. Classes are taught by WSU faculty and veteran Master Gardeners. The cost of training is $170.00. All applicants will be interviewed and from among those interviewed 20 will be accepted into training. Those accepted into training agree to volunteer 85 hours of community service over the next two years as Island County Master Gardeners.  NOTE: the 2011 application process for the WSU Extension Master Gardener’s is closed.  Please connect to the link to research and apply for the following years 20 slots.

WSU Extension, PO Box 5000, Coupeville WA 98239. Or call us at 360-240-5527 to request an application by mail.