Gardeners with Heart: First Year Master Gardeners are Second to None

Apr 24, 2020

Gardeners with Heart: First Year Master Gardeners are Second to None

Apr 24, 2020

UC Master Gardener Volunteers are excellent teachers and community educators whether they've been with our program for one year or twenty! The two extraordinary volunteers featured in this article are early in their UC Master Gardener Volunteer involvement but have already made themselves indispensable.

Borah Lim – Los Angeles and Yolo Counties

“My biggest dream is for humans and humus to dwell in harmony and community among all living things in our ecosystem.” – Borah Lim


As a Korean-American, born and raised in the suburbs of Los Angeles, Borah reports that she was not interested in agriculture until she attended Williams College, a small liberal arts school located in rural Massachusetts. After graduating, she was inspired to reconnect youth with the soil in her home state by her friends and colleagues at the Garden School Foundation.

Borah completed the UC Master Gardener Program training in Los Angeles County, with a special interest in teaching gardening and cooking classes at Title I elementary schools. Borah's desire to connect with people and the land did not stop there. In 2019, Borah moved to Yolo County to pursue a graduate degree in International Agricultural Development at UC Davis. Upon arriving in Davis, Borah transferred to the UC Master Gardener Program in Yolo County and dreamed up a project to bring gardening and food systems education to populations with inadequate access to healthy, fresh produce.

Food access and food insecurity have recently emerged as severe and pervasive problems at college campuses across the United States. Through gardening workshops at the UC Davis Student Farm, Borah hopes to increase direct access to healthy, affordable, sustainably grown produce for the UC Davis student community. Borah's optimistic these workshops will bridge this UC Master Gardener Program with the UC student community – inspiring college students to pursue the UC Master Gardener Program training and join its volunteer network of gardeners and environmental advocates in the future. 

After graduating, Borah aspires to expand the field of agricultural education and food and faith movements, working alongside communities towards sustainable solutions and agricultural justice within our local and global food system. With the First-Year Seminar she's planning to offer this fall at UC Davis, Borah's “biggest dream” is off to a healthy start!

Ted Hawkins – Stanislaus

“Do all Master Gardeners have this much fun while teaching and learning?” – Ted Hawkins

In 2019 when Stanislaus County offered its inaugural UC Master Gardener Program Training, Ted Hawkins was first in line. Ted has always been interested in gardening and sharing information with community members. The UC Master Gardener Program was a great fit!

Ted's extensive knowledge of vermicomposting and other topics, combined with his outgoing personality, and his can-do attitude immediately drew his fellow volunteers. It didn't take long for Ted to notice how his prior knowledge overlapped with the program's needs. A longtime woodworker, he built beautiful boxes that were we used at a succulent workshop. Proceeds from the workshop raised much-needed funds for the program, enabling the UC Master Gardener Program in Stanislaus to purchase a popup tent for outdoor events.

Now a First-Year Master Gardener, he arrives early on each training day to help with set up. He makes sure the coffee is ready and that all of the Trainees have the materials they need. “I personally benefit from knowing that someone I can count on will be here each week. As a new coordinator, I have been honored to have someone like Ted work with me,” says UC Master Gardener Program coordinator in Stanislaus County Anne Schellman.

While relatively new to the UC Master Gardner Program, Borah and Ted bring a rich set of skills and experiences to the communities they serve. From sustainable agriculture education to carpentry and beyond, First Year Master Gardeners are proof that the students have become the teachers!

About Gardeners with Heart

MG with heart color logo blue gloves gold trim formed in the shape of a heart, holding a red potted flower also shaped as a heart.
During National Volunteer Week (April 19 – 25), the UC Master Gardener Program celebrates the contributions of its 6,000 incredible volunteers.  The UC Master Gardener Program is excited to share stories of special volunteers Gardeners with Heart from across the state. Gardener's with Heart volunteers were nominated by their local county leadership for their creativity, strategic thinking, passion for the program's mission and commitment to program delivery. To nominate a Gardener with Heart in your program or county complete the online survey here. Gardeners with Heart will be celebrated throughout the year on social media, in blog posts, on our website, and in the 2019 annual report!

Special appreciation to UC Master Gardener Program Coordinators Stanislaus (Anne Schellman) and Los Angeles (Valerie Borel) for sharing the stories of these incredible Gardeners with Heart.

By Marisa Coyne

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