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Episode 105: NYS Master Gardener Program

The podcast team recently took a road trip to Cornell University in Ithaca, NY to meet with Ashley Helmholdt, Extension Associate, Cornell Garden-Based Learning, School of Integrative Plant Science Horticulture. With a passionate interest in garden-based learning, Ashley manages the New York State Master Gardener Volunteer and Seed to Supper programs as well as professional development for Cornell Cooperative Extension educators.

She shares a bit of the history of the MGV program which recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. She’s heavily involved in the continual enhancements to the program and shares her enthusiasm for what’s to come. She also talks extensively about the Seed to Supper program, a six-session series, which helps new vegetable gardeners get started. Vegetable Varieties for New York State is also under her purview which is an excellent resource to help gardeners select varieties that will grow well in New York soils and climate.

The Cornell Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Volunteer network is also working to strengthen understanding and inspire us to take action in our gardens and communities that will help address the global crisis of climate change. Supporting this effort, a curriculum is available for gardeners, homeowners, educators, volunteers, teachers, students, and anyone interested in exploring how we might examine our gardening practice through the lens of climate change mitigation and adaptation.

If you are interested in the Master Gardener Program in Columbia and Greene Counties or have a gardening question, please call or email the Master Gardeners at (518) 826-3345 ext 212 or  If you live outside these counties, please contact your local county extension office.

Hosts: Tim Kennelty and Jean Thomas

Guest: Ashley Helmholdt

Photo by:

Production Support: Linda Aydlett, Deven Connelly, Teresa Golden, Xandra Powers, Annie Scibienski


Cornell Garden-Based Learning | Learn, garden and reflect


Xandra Powers
Community Horticulture Coordinator
518-828-3346 x106

Last updated January 25, 2024