Patti Nagai

Patti NagaiPatti Nagai has served Racine County as the UW-Extension Horticulture Agent since 1998.

Racine County Master Gardener volunteers (MGV) supported 20 community projects including several community garden projects, the Green Works Program, education of elementary school youth on basic gardening, and Plant Health Advisors. Patti works with neighboring Kenosha County and helped initiate a joint Master Gardener Volunteer Program between Racine and Kenosha County.

Racine County UW-Extension supports two community pantry gardens that provide produce for those in need and are used for garden skills training. These gardens were the result of partnerships between Patti, MGVs, the Racine County Food Bank and other community groups and businesses. The gardens produce thousands of pounds of vegetables and fruits each year. The Teaching Garden at the Racine County Food Bank is truly unique because it allows for demonstration of many different urban gardening practices.  In 2009 Patti was awarded the Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Achievement for empowering community members in Racine County and beyond to transform their neighborhoods through environmentally sustainable horticulture.

The Green Works program is a horticultural therapy and job skills program for adults with disabilities. A 200 page curriculum was developed from this training, and is used for therapeutic wellness programs and pre-vocational skills training. Community partners for this program include Southern Wisconsin Center, Lakeside Curative Services, the ARC of Racine, Kenosha Achievement Center and the Wisconsin Veterans Home.

Patti has created a team of trained individuals, Plant Health Advisors, who provide assistance for homeowners with horticulture concerns/questions. There are walk-in diagnostic centers, Horticulture Help lines and an email site to send photos and questions. Pattie provides diagnostic outreach monthly at local farmers markets in Racine County, as well as doing radio spots – both locally and with WPR, and writes a weekly newspaper column.

Patti is part of a group of educators from surrounding Counties that provide a series of four classes on research-based horticultural education to 500 individuals per year who work in the landscape business.

Patti has an impressive list of publications that she has authored or co-authored. She has written extensively on how to create community gardens and how to use different growing techniques for success. In April of 2011 Patti wrote, “Creative Containers” for American Nurseryman Magazine. This feature story earned her the 2012 NACAA/Bayer Environmental Science Communication Award. In addition to print articles, she has seven People + Plants videos to her credit. This series illustrates gardening skills and practices.

To learn more about Patti Nagai’s scholarly work, please click here.

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