Today was day one of the 2009 Master Gardener (hereinafter noted as "M.G.")program on Maui. Starting at 9:00AM and going til 3:30, it was a day packed with talking. It was a day of introductions of the program, which incidentally began in Seattle in 1972, introductions of students (of which there are roughly 45), introductions of staff, and introductions to the kinds of things we can expect.
Anne Gachuhi, Maui's M.G. coordinator, gave us a fat binder full of information about gardening in Hawaii. Jayme Grzebik, coordinator for the M.G. program on O'ahu, came to introduce the Urban Garden they have there. If memory serves me (and it often doesn't), they have 30 acres of land in Pearly City, between Home Despot and the H-1 freeway. From the looks of it, they do some really cool stuff out there. Lots of stuff for people to look at as far as "how-to" examples, all maintained by their M.G. volunteers.
The part that was most interesting though, was hearing the other students introduce themselves. Many of the students are already highly involved in gardening/growing stuff communities. From people like myself with little experience and just a backyard plot to work with, to community organizers, to transplanted long-time farmers, there is a wide variety of folk. The reasons for joining the program are just as diverse.
Having just recently returned from Taiwan, I am looking forward to joining this community on Maui. From first impressions, this group seems vigorous and hungry to eat of the land. It may prove to be the key to what lies ahead for me.