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H.O.P.E. from the Garden

Helping Our Planet Endure

Mission:  Identify, Practice and Promote gardening principles that have a positive impact on the environment.

Our planet is in an environmental crisis. Many of our traditional agricultural and horticultural practices contribute to the production of damaging greenhouse gases that trap the sun’s heat, and lead to drought, excessive rain, and dramatic temperature swings around the world. We see the effects in our own gardens and landscapes. Flowers bloom earlier, plants we once relied on are struggling, while others we thought too tender may thrive.

It’s more than inconvenient. Pollinators can’t find the right flowers at the right time, migrating birds look for seeds and berries in vain when and where they once were plentiful, and caterpillars can’t find the leaves they depended on for food.


Populations of countless invertebrates, vertebrates, and plants are diminishing or even disappearing completely. Like these organisms, we gardeners rely on precious natural resources like healthy soil, pure water and clean air to keep our gardens (and ourselves) healthy and productive. If we use our resources wisely, they will be available for generations to come.


Through the HOPE from the Garden initiative, Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Gardener volunteers will learn, adopt, and share research-based gardening practices to help everyone protect our natural resources and stem the loss of these organisms -- one garden at a time.

Forest Lake

Goals and Objectives

1.  Keep our soil healthy

A gardener's primary concern is the soil that covers the land and the organisms that grow in or live on it.  HOPE focuses on:

  • Understanding the soil/food web and its impact on how we work with the soil

  • Building and maintaining healthy soil

  • Minimizing the use of pesticides (insecticides, herbicides, fungicide, etc.) and synthetic fertilizers

  • Reducing lawn areas

  • Incorporating native plants and trees into our gardens

  • Providing a healthy wildlife habitat

3.  Minimizing gardening activities that contribute to air pollution

Air is essential to most life.  Agricultural practices generate contaminants that often end up in the air and contribute to climage change and health issues.  HOPE focuses on:

  • Avoiding the use of garden equipment that runs on fossil fuels

  • Planting and protecting trees to reduce carbon dioxide and provide shade, windbreaks and oxygen to breathe

  • Adopting practices that sequester carbon

  • Reducing our methane footprint

2.  Keep our waters clean and plentiful

Contact the HOPE team:

Life on Earth depends on adequate, clean water.  HOPE focuses on:

  • Minimizing water runoff and evaporation, encouraging water infiltration

  • Building structures to collect water for later use

  • Providing clean sources of water for wildlife and insects

  • Growing plants that don't need a lot of water

  • Reducing the use of synthetic agricultural chemicals

HOPE Project Coordinator: 

Kate Bracken |

Goochland VCE Office:

2748 Dogtown Rd, Goochland, VA 23063 (804) 556-5841

Powhatan VCE Office:

3910 Old Buckingham Rd., Powhatan, VA 23139

(804) 598-5640

H.O.P.E. Resources

Learn more about how to incorporate H.O.P.E. practices in your own garden.


Follow these guidelines in your own garden to make a positive impact on our planet.


Learn which plants are native and which are invasive.

Patentability Search

Learn the GPMGA Call To Action to adopt practices that will "help our planet endure".


Learn how to build a habitat that wildlife will thrive in.

Hands in the Soil

Learn how to build and maintain a healthy soil.

Learn how to conserve water by harnessing rain water.

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