The Sandoval County Community Services Department and representatives from the New Mexico State University Extension Master Gardener Program recently announced the relocation of their program from the old Sandoval County Courthouse, to the Sandoval County Administrative Building on the County’s main campus. The relocation reduces risk and alleviates privacy and safety concerns at the old courthouse building.
Co-located at the old courthouse in the Town of Bernalillo, are the District Attorney’s Office, the County’s DWI Prevention and Intervention Programs, and Extension Services. Those served by the District Attorney’s Office and the Prevention and Intervention Programs are individuals involved with the criminal justice system, including adults convicted of violent crimes. This presents obvious safety concerns for those served by the Extension Office, and is the reason for the move. While staple administrative functions for Extension will remain at their current location, services to the community will occur throughout The County.
“Out of concern for citizens we collectively serve, in addition to an increase in safety issues that have occurred, the County felt it critical to find a new space for those served by Extension,” said County Manager Dianne Maes. “The County’s Administrative Building had space available and offers enhanced safety, more parking, better access to the public, and is in a more centralized location for the Master Gardener program. In addition, our Health Commons has room for rows of gardens and a demonstration kitchen for their classes. We value the service they provide and I know they are one of the best Master Gardener programs in the state. We want to continue to support their efforts.”
The Master Gardener Program in Sandoval County offers residents the opportunity to learn about the best practices for gardening in our high desert climate. Master Gardener Program volunteers each contribute a minimum of 30 volunteer hours a year in Sandoval County and are specially trained in plant science and good gardening practices.
“Having the Master Gardener Program in our County means our residents can take advantage of a wealth of gardening knowledge at no cost to them,” said Commissioner Jay C. Block, District 2. “This program provides free gardening classes, youth programs, education on wellness and healthy eating and so much more. I encourage Sandoval County residents to reach out and visit with the Master Gardener Program at their new location so they can learn and grow from their knowledge.”
In addition to teaching and educating, the Master Gardener Program also helps to feed the community through their Community and Donation Vegetable Gardens.
“The Seed2Need Garden in Corrales produced and gleaned over 75,000 pounds of fresh produce last year alone,” said Lynda Garvin, Agriculture Agent/Extension Master Gardener Coordinator. “In addition, the Corrales Family Practice Garden grew over 2,600 pounds of food for St. Felix Pantry in Rio Rancho. Our services educate the public in good gardening practices, creating beautiful resilient gardens and connecting communities to local food and healthy eating.”
The program also offers other services including, but not limited to:
- Plant clinics
- Demonstration and teaching gardens
- Produce safety training for growers
- Weed management on rangelands in Cuba and Regina
- Farmers Markets
- Low-Cost hoophouse construction workshops
- Farming and growing workshops for Sandoval County’s pueblos
- Youth programs in Pena Blanca, Placitas, Corrales and Rio Rancho
- Monthly gardening classes
- Plant hotline
- Seed library
- Garden tours
The Master Gardener Program’s new location is the first floor of the County Administrative Building located at 1500 Idalia Road in Bernalillo. Their hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. They are closed on the same holidays as the County.
Master Gardener Training begins in January. To learn more about the Master Gardener Program, visit www.sandovalmastergardeners.org.