Each state’s Cooperative Extension provides agricultural and horticultural support and environmental education to its residents. This research-based information originates in the state’s land grant universities and research stations.
The Master Gardener program trains and deploys volunteers to multiply the effective outreach of the Extensions.
- Nationwide, nearly 100,000 Master Gardeners are active in 50 states contribute some 5 million service hours to communities each year.
- Through Virginia Cooperative Extension, some 5,500 Master Gardener volunteers add more than 350,000 hours annually to the resources of Virginia Tech and Virginia State University each year.
- Locally, in 2019, 144 active Piedmont Master Gardener volunteers, provided nearly 13,000 hours of service, bringing scientific knowledge of the best horticulture and landscape management practices to the people of Charlottesville and Albemarle County.
The Master Gardener program was founded in Washington State in 1973. The Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Program for Charlottesville and Albemarle county began in 1979, and the Piedmont Master Gardeners Association formed to support local Extension programs in 1989.