Once upon a time, I strove to begin a Flagstaff farm and garden group in hopes of pulling together gals to share skills and knowledge about the simple things in life: Gardening, herbs, raising animals and sustainable living. I was also wanting the excuse to enjoy other things, like glamping and late nights with the girls involving baking, hot drinks, knitting, etc... pure fun in between all the productive fun. We had a few meetings, but all the awesome ladies involved were never able to get together consistently outside of Facebook, even though I strove for it off and on for 5 years! I pretty much gave up in 2016, especially after ditching Facebook. Ha!
Then I saw the Master Gardener class advertised for the fall semester of 2017, and I happened to have time in my life to take it. This one class quenched my longing for in-depth Flagstaff gardening knowledge and a community to share it with, starting with the three neighbors who took the class with me. Several of them had signed up for the class after I posted about it on our neighborhood 'nextdoor.com' and we decided to carpool. (tip #1 is sign up with friends, neighbors, or be prepared to meet new folks in class.)
We bonded during the car rides and sat together, quickly gaining a reputation as the "fun" and "wild" table (as the MG instructor put it) during the semester long class. We brought snacks for our table, took awesome notes and learned so much about various things, such as putting together a water system for the garden, identifying pests and disease, and even what type of greenhouses would be best to build for our own personal spaces.
(By the way, these are tips I'm giving you for class, so pay attention.)
We chummy neighbors also took the open book test together (which is encouraged), while again sharing our home-baked goodies and jokes.
Finally, the community of Master Gardeners in Coconino County was open for us to enjoy. Not only do Master Gardeners have monthly meetings where educational events like preserving the harvest (and even bread-making) occur, there are also seasonal parties and picnics. Not to mention the fun opportunities to volunteer at the most beautiful gardens in town.
It is overwhelming, in the best way possible.
If you are seeking a community, an army even, of gardeners serious about learning how to better produce organic veggies, native flowers and landscapes, all while seeking to use sustainable practices, you have found it. This fellowship of Master Gardeners is a wonderful platform to engage neighbors and our Flagstaff community at large, to encourage each other to grow as much as we have the imagination and time to give our outdoor space and, most importantly, our mind space.
The next semester long class starts January 23 2019, and registration begins now. I urge anyone who is either a wannabe high-altitude gardener, a novice, or a seasoned expert to seek this class. The benefit to our "farm and garden group" a neighborhood community where we bond with one another, teach each other, and continue to nurture a stronger community of sustainable growers. I am so very excited to be a part of the Master Gardeners of Coconino County!