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October 2022 Monthly Meeting Recap

The October 2022 meeting included information about the annual report, youth projects, Healing Gardens and updates to the Soil Testing Services for Urban and Suburban Gardeners.


The October 18 monthly meeting was held in-person and online via Zoom.


Many thanks to the RCMG volunteers involved with the October Meeting:

  • Education Committee: Sue Ellen Campbell & Jane Carlstrom

  • Project Leaders: Nancy Berry (Barn Gardens), Susan Cathey & Ed Shinbach (youth projects) & Sandy McDonald (Habitat for Humanity)

  • Journalist: Colleen Bell

  • Set-up: Colleen Bell & Scott Beary

  • Greeters: Nancy Glass & Ann Wolfe

  • Zoom Aide: Brianna Gohde

  • Clean-up: Colleen Bell

6-6:30 pm Volunteer Training – RCMG Leadership Roles

Darren Lochner presented a workshop titled Telling Your Story Successfully, which outlined content of successful reports, shared examples of reports, highlighted media release and photo permission guidelines. He also noted that branding and templates are available through state MG program.

6:30-6:45 pm: Project Updates

Youth Projects

Susan Cathey & Ed Shinbach offered updates on projects completed this summer.

  • Garden Gnomes (4 lesson plans pilot-tested June-September at markets)

  • Gopher Adventures (May-June garden prep & July-August gardening in partnership with Anoka & Hennepin counties)

  • Arts Us (St Paul non-profit) curriculum & gardening practice; invited for after school program next year

There are still opportunities this fall to work on a youth project, including Tulip test garden project, Hayden Heights library program after school, watershed projects. Materials & supplies from these projects are available for others to use.

Watch this winter for information about a 1/21/2023 training on MG curriculum, designed to equip more volunteers for youth work.

Habitat for Humanity

Sandy McDonald, speaking for Nancy Joyner, wanted to thank all participating volunteers on a successful if sometimes hectic summer. RCMG completed two summer planting projects instead of the normal 1 in the fall and 1 in the summer.

Darren Lochner's Coordinator Updates (6:45pm-7pm)

Darren Lochner highlighted two points:

  1. Security notice of roaming peoples around the Barn. Extension has additional security staff are circulating but please be aware if you’re there in off-hours.

  2. Sign-up Genius invitations coming soon for

    • Emerging Farmers conference in Nov (need MG table)

    • Planning team for diagnostic lab space

    • Awards brainstorming volunteers

Guest Lecture – roving Soil Testing Services for Urban and Suburban Gardeners by Keith Piotrowski (7-8pm)

Keith Piotrowski is lab manager at UM Soil Testing and Research Analytical Laboratory which has recently relocated from CFANs into MAES/Ag Experiment Station. This lab provide two major functions:

  1. SOIL TESTING – Impact of soil testing on soil ecology: promotes awareness & maintains soil fertility. Fulfilling soil testing requests (residential, farm/field & commercial) heavily weighted to spring (70%). Fall is much less in demand (20%). CFANS Soil Test Website includes (revised) soil analysis request sheet, cost & University of GA garden calculator (See "Other Resources" tab) for calculating how much amendment should be added.

  2. RESEARCH LAB – Half dozen on-going projects. A new Soil Testing Record Database will launch in January 2023.


  • Role of MG with respect to soil testing = communication (KP offered to create fact sheets for RCMG educational uses)

  • Darren mentioned potential project with community gardens and soil testing

8-8:30 p.m. RCMG News from the Board of Directors leaders

Kay Wimer (New Member Committee) announced that RCMG has attracted 79 applicants for the class of 2023. These applicants will need to complete an interview with current MG volunteers before they can continue with registration. We need lots of volunteers to interview applicants in the last week of Oct and first week of Nov. We also need mentors for the 2023 interns. (see Sign-up Genius for more info)

Board Chair Nate Galloway reminded us that it's nomination season and we will elect new officers in our November meeting. Sandy McDonald, current vice chair, will automatically advance to Board Chair; Board secretary Gretchen Hesli will run again; Board treasurer Kathy Passe, now serving as interim, will run. Positions of Vice-Chair is open for nominations.

Volunteers are encouraged to attend Board meetings (second Tuesday of month, 6:30-8:30) to learn more about how RCMG operates. Go to to learn more.

Recap provided by Colleen Bell


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