Buncombe County Master Gardeners

What is the Extension Master GardenerSM  (EMG) Volunteer Program?


The Extension Master Gardener volunteer program is a national program of trained volunteers who work in partnership with their county Cooperative Extension Service office to extend information throughout the community. The first EMG program was started in Washington State in 1972. Forty-six states now have EMG programs with over 15,000 people participating nationwide. The EMG program provides gardeners with education in a wide range of horticultural topics. After successfully completing the training, participants become certified EMG Volunteers. EMG’s provide volunteer leadership and service to their community in gardening activities. The volunteer activities can include answering gardening questions, conducting plant clinics, planting demonstration gardens, talking to community groups and more. Check out the Buncombe County Extension Master Gardener Website! 

How does the EMG Volunteer Program benefit me?

Through the training program and the interaction with other experienced gardeners, you will become a more knowledgeable gardener. You will also receive a manual and many additional publications. There are also EMG workshops held around the state that all EMG’s are welcomed to attend. There will be opportunities to take field trips to interesting gardens and nurseries. And you will meet many people who share your interest in gardening. The EMG volunteer program is not all work. The volunteers often enjoy socializing at cookouts and covered dish suppers during and after the training period. Social activity allows the participants time to discuss new ideas as well as to forge new friendships.

How does the EMG Volunteer Program benefit the community?

As an EMG Volunteer, you will share the knowledge gained in the training sessions with other gardeners in the community. You can do this in a variety of ways. Every time you answer a gardening question from a friend, you share the knowledge you have gained. The Extension Horticulture program in Buncombe County will offer many opportunities to assist with programs and activities. Volunteers often have their own ideas of activities to offer educational programs for the community. Volunteer hours are flexible, depending on your own interests and available time. Travel expenses are tax deductible.

Do I have what it takes to be an EMG Volunteer?


  • had a vegetable or flower garden?
  • grown roses or houseplants?
  • planted and maintained a lawn?
  • planted or pruned trees and shrubs?


  • meeting and talking with people?
  • searching for answers to questions?
  • organizing workshops or meetings?
  • attending educational classes?
  • learning more about horticulture?
  • sharing your time and knowledge with others?


  • at least four hours of time per month that you can volunteer to North Carolina State University’s Cooperative Extension Service in Buncombe County helping us to “HELP PEOPLE PUT KNOWLEDGE TO WORK”.

How do I become an EMG Volunteer?

The desire to help others is the first requirement. A personal commitment to complete the required training and to volunteer at least 40 hours of service is equally important. To get your name on the list for the next EMG Volunteer Training Program, call or come by the Cooperative Extension Service office for an application form.  Classes are held January through April – one afternoon each week for 13 weeks.  A fee is charged for teaching materials. Application forms for the following year’s program are available September.  For more information on the Extension Master Gardener program, contact alison.arnold@ncsu.edu Also Check out the Buncombe County Extension Master Gardener Website! 

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