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About the Master Gardener program

Master Gardener teaching kids about soil

The University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardener™ program is an internationally recognized volunteer program. It exists in all fifty states, in Canada and in the United Kingdom. Nationally, there are nearly 100,000 Master Gardener volunteers from all walks of life. They reach about 5 million people each year – the equivalent of more than $100 million in value to communities. In Minnesota, the Master Gardener program is coordinated by University of Minnesota Extension and has strong ties to the research and outreach of the Department of Horticultural Science.

The Master Gardener program began in 1972 at Washington State University. Read about its origins on their site (106 K PDF). The University of Minnesota program started in 1977 with the first class of 25 people.

The activities of the University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardeners benefit schools, community gardens, youth programs, environmental education programs, farmers markets, and much more.

Master Gardeners are required to volunteer 50 hours the first year as interns and 25 hours annually thereafter as certified active Master Gardeners. Active volunteers are also asked to participate in continuing education of 5-12 hours per year, depending on the county in which they volunteer.

Some activities of Master Gardeners include:

Minnesota Master Gardeners by the numbers – 2015

State office


View state office contacts.

Media requests

For media requests related to University of Minnesota Master Gardeners, please contact:

Allison Sandve
Media and public relations manager
University of Minnesota Extension

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