How did the MG program get started?

The first Master Gardener program began in Washington State in 1972. The Extension agent for horticulture in those counties was overwhelmed by the volume of requests coming into his office for information about home gardening and horticulture. He came up with the idea of trading specialized training in horticulture for a commitment to spend a specified number of hours doing volunteer outreach work. He sought and obtained the help of Extension agents, specialists, and administrators at the state university in planning and testing both a training program for volunteers and a format for plant clinics that would provide accurate and helpful information to the public. The program quickly spread to every state and several foreign countries.