Rapid urban growth in many areas of the United States, coupled with increased interest in the environment and home gardening, have prompted ever-increasing numbers of homeowner questions to County Extension Service agents. Many of these questions are seasonal in nature and are relatively easily answered assuming that one has horticultural training.
In 1972, the Master Gardener Program was initiated, training volunteers to respond to many of the everyday homeowner questions. Volunteers such as Extension Homemakers and 4-H Leaders were selected, trained and certified as Master Gardeners.
Florida’s Master Gardener Program began in 1979. The program has been a tremendous success and is now active in over half of Florida’s counties. The Florida Master Gardener Program is sponsored by the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) of which the Cooperative Extension Service is a part.