Horticulture Advisory Leadership Council Minutes February 2011

Russell Harris, Selle, Alaina C.

Jefferson and Orleans Parishes Horticulture Advisory Leadership Council

February 23, 2011
1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Garden Study Center
NOBG, City Park
New Orleans, La.

Meeting Minutes


J.B. Anders Jr. Jefferson Parish County Agent, LSU AgCenter
Joe Baucum Jefferson Parish Council of Garden Clubs
Beth Blackwell          
Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, New Orleans Unit, Agriculture and Environmental Science
Hailey Bowen New Orleans Department of Parks and Parkways
Lischa Eaglin Louisiana Association of Cooperatives
Jean Fahr Parkway Partners
Russell Harris Orleans Parish County Agent, LSU AgCenter
Bertina Mcghee LSU AgCenter, Orleans Parish Chair
Lisa Loup AMK Landscaping, Metro Area Horticulture Foundation, NOHS
Alexis Navarro LSU AgCenter, Jefferson Parish Chair
Gwen Nelms Cullier Career Center
Harvey Reed Louisiana Association of Cooperatives
Mary Beth Rollins Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, New Orleans Unit, Agriculture and Environmental Science
Piedad Scanlan Master Gardeners of Greater New Orleans
Lainie Selle  
LSU AgCenter
David Zeringue Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, New Orleans Unit, Agriculture and Environmental Science

Guests: Cullier Career Center Students: Cyrus Crawford, Megan Perkins, Tyron Price, Buddy Spire

Handouts: Agenda, Horticulture Hints, Spring Garden Show flyer and application, Louisiana Master Gardener push card, MGGNO training flyer and application, Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service brochure, Louisiana Market Maker information, School Gardens information and Proposed Federal Budget Cuts.

I. J.B. called the meeting to order at 1:00 p.m. and welcomed all participants.

II. Introductions were made around the table.

III. J.B. explained the purpose of the Advisory Leadership Council, the mission of the LSU AgCenter and the responsibilities of committee members. Extension information is research-based from LSU AgCenter research stations across the state. All information can be found on our Web site at www.lsuagcenter.com

IV. J.B. described the role of a county agent and the educational programs available in Jefferson and Orleans parishes: Take phone calls and assist walk-ins at the office with horticulture and agricultural issues; make home and site visits as requested; assist with and interpret routine and heavy metals soil testing, provided by two LSU AgCenter labs; lecture and advise within the community; serve as a coordinator/advisor for the Master Gardeners of Greater New Orleans, a local organization of the Louisiana Master Gardener volunteer program, which serves to extend education and research-based information into the community; coordinate the Spring Garden Show in City Park; advise and promote local farmers markets; encourage participation by local growers.

J.B. has recently been involved with a partnership with the National D-Day Museum to incorporate victory gardens in local schools. Russell has recently begun a Junior Master Gardener program at Langston Hughes Elementary School, with plans to expand to McDonogh City Park Academy. The county agents also: work with the Department of Parks and Parkways resolving pesticide issues; participate in Tree Trooper training; collaborate with U.S. Department of Homeland Security to assess local agribusinesses; and Russell plans to start a local beekeepers association and Beginning with Bees program

V. Committee members were asked to identify issues they have questions about or that they would like to see the county agents address:
Junior Master Gardener program: Expand the train-the-trainer concept to Master Gardeners who could then mentor and provide for the expansion of the Junior Master Gardener program into more schools and community groups. Jean Fahr expressed interest in working with the JMGs.
Tree conservation outreach and education: Encourage the expansion of existing tree protection program in Old Metairie and Metairie Ridge; participate, promote and expand on mission of Friends of Jefferson the Beautiful’s Annual Tree School to this end (Tree School to be held April 13, 2011); develop more educational materials and programs to further this issue; efforts can be in accord with ordinances and regulations if homebuilders are taught the use of proper landscaping methods and site-appropriate plantings.
Raising poultry in an urban setting: Investigate local laws and regulations and provide support and education on keeping and raising chickens in Jefferson and Orleans parishes. The AgCenter has such information, so perhaps J.B. and Russell can customize it and make it available to the local community. Wayne Burgess with St. Bernard Extension can assist with local laws. Southern University Ag Center also has information available.
Expand school garden program: The program is in early stages; limited resources also prevent J.B. and Russell from expanding too quickly to more schools, but plan to in the future; there are challenges of creating school gardens in urban areas that don’t have much land and space, but we can promote options such as container gardening and raised beds.
Train Master Gardeners to assist with school garden programs: More assistance is needed with long-term maintenance of school gardens. Master Gardener training curriculum can sometimes be too broad and overwhelming. Former county agent Jerry Sisk held a Master Gardener training specifically for school garden projects, which could be reestablished to enable Master Gardeners to then empower school custodians and groundskeepers with best management practices.
Promotion of new and area-appropriate varieties: More handouts and educational materials from the AgCenter are extremely useful. Too often the same old varieties are being endorsed. Concerns with patent restrictions and stock availability might be overcome by increased public demand via AgCenter promotion. Russell has plans for trials at the New Orleans Botanical Garden that can showcase growing periods and best varieties for our area, in order to educate the local community on all that can be done here. Gwen has had success with perennial asparagus and would like to see promotion of more perennials.
Address growing misuse of soil sterilants/pre-emergent herbicides: Expand education and teach proper use. J.B. said this falls under the pesticide safety training program, which he has plans to expand.
Increased promotion of termite prevention: The AgCenter does have numerous publications related to termites. The public can be directed to our offices for assistance.
Consistent issue promotion: Some of the suggestions and concerns brought up today have been issues for decades and some committee members feel the AgCenter has not addressed the topics consistently enough to make an impact. LDAF can only do so much because they regulate commercial interests, not private citizens. The committee feels it is up to the AgCenter to provide outreach to the public.
Involvement in Columbia Parc residential community: The former site of St. Bernard Housing Project in Orleans Parish is being developed into Columbia Parc, a housing community with a recreational center, lawns and plans for a senior center and school. It has great potential for AgCenter involvement with community gardens. The committee would like to see Russell get involved.

VI. Next Steps: J.B. and Russell will review the proposed action items for incorporation into annual plan of work: J.B. discussed budget restraints and concerns facing the AgCenter and extension programs and asked for committee members input on financial sponsorship.
Lisa cited grant funds available from the Metro Area Horticulture Foundation and suggested that the agents contact Betty Bagert for assistance. Gwen encouraged application to the Joe W. and Dorothy Dorsett Brown Foundation for available funding for school garden projects.

J.B. and Russell will call a follow-up Advisory Committee meeting within the year.

Meeting adjourned at 3:00 p.m. Minutes recorded by Lainie Selle.

4/16/2011 12:45:18 AM
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