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mc master gardeners 21st graduating classTINTON FALLS, NJ – On behalf of the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders, Freeholder Lillian G. Burry congratulated the Rutgers Master Gardeners 21st graduating class of 32 individuals at the annual graduation ceremony held on Thursday, Nov. 21 at The Church of St. Anselm.

“The Master Gardeners have produced yet another special class of individuals who volunteer their time by beautifying our community and offering assistance to residents who have horticulturally-related inquiries,” said Freeholder Lillian G. Burry, liaison to Rutgers Cooperative Extension. “The Master Gardeners, as a whole, addressed more than 450 questions from the public at Garden Helpline tables at various events and 2,040 garden questions via phone, email or walk-in at the Agriculture Building Helpline room.”

Since the first graduating class on Nov.19, 1999, there have been 596 Master Gardeners trained in Monmouth County. Now that the 21st graduating class has completed their training, there are currently 256 active Master Gardeners who continue to volunteer their time to the County.

“I am delighted to announce that this year’s graduating class volunteered more than 750 hours in the Plant a Row for the Hungry garden, producing approximately 1,760 pounds of food,” said Freeholder Burry. “The food produced has been donated to Monmouth County food pantries such as the Open Door in Freehold and Lunch Break in Red Bank.”

Since the Plant a Row for the Hungry (PAR) garden started in 2006, 32,550 pounds of food have been produced and donated to local food banks, group homes, senior centers and soup kitchens. Besides the PAR garden, the Master Gardeners continue to be involved in over 25 community and donation gardens throughout Monmouth County where they grew and harvested over 21,850 pounds of food.

In conjunction with the Rutgers Cooperative Extension, the Monmouth County Master Gardener program seeks to educate everyone in horticultural topics, helps answer questions regarding gardening problems around the home, supports community and donation gardens and provides a speaker’s bureau to bring Master Gardener led discussions to local gardening clubs and other interested community groups around the County.

To learn more about becoming a Master Gardener or to receive an application, call 732-431-7260, ext. 7262 or go to www.visitmonmouth.com.