Search for Excellence in Consumer or Commercial Horticulture

Nicasio Usabel
Extension Educator
University of Idaho
Canyon County

Usabel, N.*1,
1 Extension Educator, University of Idaho, Caldwell, ID, 83605

In 2020, COVID-19-related state lockdowns contributed to a sudden surge of home gardening and horticulture interest across the United States. This situation was also strongly evident in Idaho. While home gardening increased drastically, many consumers lacked awareness or knowledge of available resources for these newly or suddenly re-addressed activities. This programming aims to provide clientele with research-based information to increase workshop participants' success in gardening and landscape management. This task is accomplished by collaborating with community partners to market virtual workshops on social media platforms and community event calendars. Utilizing the event calendar on the Facebook platform, community partners are added as a co-host for each workshop presented. In addition, upcoming workshops are promoted to a captured audience of participants each month, helping to build registration of upcoming workshops. The Zoom meeting platform was utilized initially but was transitioned to the Zoom webinar platform as registration flourished beyond 100 registrants. During these nine months, over 890 participants participated in horticulture and gardening-based workshops. Participants in the workshop indicated appreciation in providing virtual based programming, allowing them to implement research-based best practices to achieve success in the garden and landscape.  These programming efforts allow for outreach beyond Canyon County and even Idaho, reaching individuals throughout the Western United States and Canada.