Santa Barbara County
University of California
Santa Barbara County

Master Gardener Program

Master Gardeners working in the community

The UCCE Master Gardeners of Santa Barbara are trained volunteers that provide information, workshops, and programs for home gardeners. Public information resources offered by Master Gardeners include plant, pest and problem identification, compost production, and cultural practices for growing vegetables, fruits, and ornamental plants.

The Master Gardener Program is sponsored by the University of California Cooperative Extension.

About the Master Gardener Program: Master Gardener volunteers are recruited and trained by land- grant universities throughout the United States and Canada. Local programs are coordinated by Horticulture Advisors at University of California Cooperative Extension offices with a primary goal to answer the myriad of questions from home gardeners. Master Gardeners extend to their communities the benefits of horticulture research developed at the University level. Master Gardeners have become an important connection for the University of California to the public sector.

Purpose: The University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Program is a voluntary educational program. The purpose is to teach sustainable gardening and landscaping practices and to effectively extend the research-based information produced by the University to the public, with a primary focus on Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices.  The Master Gardener role is primarily that of “educator”. 

History: Master Gardeners were organized to help answer questions from home gardeners that, as the communities grew, could not be handled by the County Extension Horticultural Advisor alone. As the volume of horticulture calls coming in from the communities increased, the obvious need for this type of program emerged. The program was first introduced in California in 1979. The Santa Barbara chapter was organized in 1990.

Master Gardeners Make a Difference!

In 2014-2015, Santa Barbara Master Gardeners logged 3,768 volunteer hours and 984 continuing education hours helping 3,846 Santa Barbara County residents through workshops, “Grow Your Own Way” with Santa Barbara Food Bank, tours through La Huerta at Old Mission Santa Barbara and the Butterfly garden at Alice Keck Park Memorial Gardens, farmers market, and the helpline.

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