The "Ten Steps to a Successful Vegetable Garden" video series is available on YouTube. Members of the public can learn about how to choose a location for a garden, how to plan the garden layout, how to prep the soil and how to plant vegetables and irrigate properly, among other things.
On a related note, the UA also maintains the Community and School Garden Program, which connects University students and faculty with schools and community organizations to address food security issues in the Tucson community.
Given the complications of growing gardens in various regions of Arizona, University of Arizona students and staff have developed short films to teach residents how to plant and harvest fruits and vegetables.
The videos, produced through UA Cooperative Extension in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, not only teach people the basics of gardening, but ways they can suplement their diet and produce their own healthy foods.
With support from the UA student-supported Green Fund, Cooperative Extension hired Daylee Burr as an intern for eight weeks over the summer. She was tasked with developing 10 three-minute educational videos on the fundamentals of gardening in the low desert. The video series complemented the "Ten Steps to a Successful Vegetable Garden," a publication of Cooperative Extension.
The video series lays out the basis of how to start a garden with the right location and seeds. The videos discuss in details the first steps for sketching a plan for the garden, how to keep a record of the garden's progress, how to evaluate the right meauserments and how to care for the soil and seeds.
Though Burr did not have a filmmaking background, she would shadow gardeners with a camera, later deciding on the most important content and editing the videos.
Camera savvy people use jargon like "B-roll," "text graphics" and "natural sounds," but those were not common terms for Burr, a junior studying English and religious studies.
"I really don't know what I want to do after college so I figured as part of my undergrad experience I might as well just try and see what else is out there," said Burr, also a member of the UA's cross country and track team.
In creating the videos, Burr gained real-world experience in gardening, filming and was able to network with sustainability professionals.
Through her internship in Maricopa County, Burr learned tangible job skills and received exposure to working out in the field, said Haley Paul, assistant in extension in urban agriculture.
"She has the skills. Awesome strength, very organized and very dedicated. She just helped create a new teaching tool that is going to reach people that a publication couldn’t have," Paul said.
Learning how to garden "can be a form of self-sufficiency if you supplement a little more of your diet with home-grown local food," Paul said. "But then on the bigger level I think these videos are the next level of communication that universities can embrace. I think it's a wonderful teaching tool."
Burr's video footage was taken at three locations in Maricopa County: at the Human Services Campus garden, the Phoenix Urban Research Farm at PHX Renews and the Maricopa County Cooperative Extension demonstration garden. The three urban farms are run by UA Cooperative Extension and provide hands on learning opportunities to students and, in some cases, residents.
When it came to editing 10 videos, Burr taught herself how to work with cameras and how to edit but when it came to actual gardening she learned from expert master gardeners and the horticulture extension agent about seasonal varieties, the right time to harvest and how to plant a seed.
"I would say it was much more difficult than I thought it would be," Burr said. "I do not have a natural act for gardening. I really do admire people that can go out there early and do it."