This program provided extension and NRCS personnel, the Montana Nursery and Landscape Association, and Master Gardeners with documented sources of information on sustainable approaches and methods for production horticulture. We completed n extensive review of the sustainable and organic agriculture research literature. We utilized this literature review to publish a 740 page manual and to produce an EPA-funded interatic CD-ROM data base on least-toxic option pest management. One hundred copies of the manual were printed and will be distributed to 70 Montana county agents during a training session at MSU extension annual conference in March 2002.
The MT Nursery and Landscape Association has incorporated sections of our manual into their Certified Plant Professional manual. Copies of the CD-ROM data base will be ditributed at a 4 hour training session on least-toxic pest management options at the MT Nursery and Landscape Association annual meeting in January 2002. A training session will also be presented on least-toxic pest management options at the MT department of Agriculture pesticide recertification training in Feruary 2002.
As more people move into the arid west, county extension agents in our region have been inundated with questions about horticulture and least-toxic pest management. Many counties have utilized trained Master Gardeners to help answer the public’s questions. With the removal of common pesticides, such as Dursban and
Diazinon, from the horticulture market, as well as new claims about least-toxic option alternatives, such as microbial inoculants, the public and horticulture professionals are asking questions for which county agents and our Master Gardener helpers have few science-based answers. Our project was designed to provide a data base for these kinds of questions by reviewing the sustainable and organic research done in our region.
Our Three Objectives were: 1) to use sustainable agriculture and organic educational materials and SARE-funded research project results from the western region, to prepare a Master Gardener manual; 2) to train county extension agents who run Master Gardener programs to use the manual; and 3) to develop a Master Gardener training area where agents can meet to assess sustainable horticulture programs, and share information and ideas.