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Garden Organic’s Master Gardener programme nominated for national award


Garden Organic’s Master Gardener programme nominated for national award

Garden Organic’s Master Gardener Programme has been shortlisted for a national award.

The Master Gardener Programme, run by the charity Garden Organic, will compete against two other projects from across England for the chance to be named winners of the Education and Learning category in the Local Food Recognition Awards 2013. The awards are organised by Local Food, a £59.8m scheme that distributes grants from the Big Lottery Fund to projects helping to make locally grown food accessible and affordable to communities

Since 2009, the Master Gardener project has received £674,254 in funding from Local Food to develop a practical model for a volunteer support network to encourage and mentor people and communities to grow fruit and vegetables in their gardens and on local communal land. This has involved the recruitment of a co-ordination team based in Warwickshire, London and Norfolk, who have trained and supported 475 Master Gardeners who have given 18,500 hours to promote home food production.

The volunteers have impacted on the lives of 4,300 people in mentored ‘households’ and another 52,000 people through workshops and other support for local groups. The Local Food Recognition Awards are an opportunity to recognise, reward and celebrate some of the hundreds of outstanding community projects that Local Food has funded since the programme opened in 2008.

Philip Turvil, Master Gardener Programme Manager, said: “Garden Organic’s Master Gardeners have wide-reaching benefits beyond growing food. It’s also about lifestyle, community and improving the environment.

“We don’t want to just teach our Master Gardener volunteers the best way of growing a lettuce for lunch. We want to teach them how to pass this information on to others in the community, to share their passion and experience so that everyone is learning from each other and feeling the benefits.

“By working with volunteers in their communities, we’re showing that the initial challenges of growing your own food can be overcome. So if that first crop ends up slug eaten, rather than feel demoralised, people look for advice and support instead of giving up.”

Mark Wheddon, Local Food Programme Manager, said: “The Local Food Recognition Awards seek to celebrate the most outstanding community projects delivered with the help of Local Food funding.

“All our projects have made a positive and lasting impact in the communities in which they are based, helping local people in all manner of different ways to access, grow, prepare and understand the benefits of fresh, healthy food, so to be shortlisted for an Award is a tremendous achievement. Many Local Food projects have gone beyond the original aims of the programme and are having much wider impacts in their communities, so our judges have a difficult but exciting task ahead in choosing the winners.”

All 500 Local Food projects were invited to enter the Awards in 4 categories – Small Grants, Community Food Growing, Education and Learning, and Enterprise. Shortlisted projects will be judged by an external panel in September, and the winners in each category will be unveiled in November at an event at The Lowry in Manchester. – ends –

For further information, please contact:

Philip Turvil, Master Gardener Programme Manager: Email here

Lorraine Mullally, PR and Communications Manager, Local Food: 01636 670105 / lmullally@rswt.org

Notes for Editors:

Garden Organic (http://www.gardenorganic.org.uk) is the UK’s leading organic growing charity dedicated to promoting organic gardening in homes, communities and schools. Using innovation and inspiration, the charity aims to get more people growing in the most sustainable way. Garden Organic delivers through renowned projects such as the Food for Life Partnership, the Master Composter and Master Gardener schemes, and the work of The Heritage Seed Library.

Volunteer Master Gardeners (http://www.mastergardeners.org.uk) offer food growing advice to local people and communities. The volunteers are fully trained and supported by Garden Organic, the UK’s leading organic growing charity.

This three-year pilot programme is funded by the Big Lottery Fund’s Local Food scheme, Sheepdrove Trust and local authorities in four areas: Warwickshire, Islington, South London and Norfolk. Garden Organic aim to develop and sustain these programme areas more nationally to follow the success of Garden Organic’s Master Composter network.

Local Food (http://www.localfoodgrants.org) is a £59.8 million programme that distributes money from the Big Lottery Fund (BIG) to a variety of food-related projects to help make locally grown food accessible and affordable to communities. It was developed by a consortium of 17 national environmental organisations, and is managed by the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts (RSWT).
RSWT is a registered charity incorporated by Royal charter to promote conservation and manage environmental programmes throughout the UK. It has established management systems for holding and distributing funds totalling more than £20 million a year.

The Big Lottery Fund (http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk) is the largest distributor of National Lottery good cause funding. It is committed to bringing real improvements to communities and the lives of people most in need, awarding over £4.4 billion to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK since 2004.

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