The WSU Master Gardener Program has been given a limited exemption to Gov. Jay Inslee’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy order so that staff and volunteers are able to maintain the statewide network of demonstration gardens that produce thousands of pounds of food annually for communities in need.
The exemption is designed to recognize the popular WSU Extension program’s essential support of the state’s food production and distribution chain while taking steps to protect its staff and volunteers. The program produced more than 65,000 pounds of fresh food for food banks statewide last year and has nearly 5,000 volunteers.
To comply with the state’s existing order, the WSU Master Gardner Program is permitting volunteers to perform limited maintenance in demonstration gardens that have a food gardening component. Volunteers are also taking the following precautions:
- At least two, but no more than 10 volunteers are allowed to provide maintenance in a garden at a given time.
- All volunteers must be able to maintain at least six feet of distance between one another, the further the better.
- Volunteers should wear respiratory etiquette masks as recommended by the CDC
- Shared surfaces, such as tools, hose spigots or hose handles, must be sanitized using approved cleaners.
Volunteers over the age of 60 and anyone with underlying health conditions should feel no pressure to volunteer at this time given the recommendations of the CDC that they stay home and away from others for their safety.