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Sunshine and celebration at the 2015 National Volunteer Masters Conference


Sunshine and celebration at the 2015 National Volunteer Masters Conference

Garden Organic welcomed more than one-hundred of our volunteer Master Gardeners and Composters to the Annual Masters Conference at Ryton Organic Gardens last Saturday, 19th September 2015.

Master Gardeners and Composters are volunteers with a passion for growing organic food and composting.  The Masters are trained to offer support and encouragement to people who’d like to begin to grow their own organic food or start composting at home, or in their community. There are currently 1,000 active Master Gardeners and Composters supporting new growers and composters across the country.

The conference began with a welcome from Sally Gardner, Head of Sustainable Communities at Garden Organic, followed by talks on a wide range of organic horticulture; from Biodynamic Gardening, latest research into the health benefits of organic gardening with Garden Organic’s Margi Lennartsson and top tips on seed saving from Garden Organic’s Heritage Seed Library.

Making ‘slow’ bread

The masters also got a chance to get their hands dirty in the various workshops on offer, learning top tips on No-dig gardening from award winning author and horticulturalist, Charles Dowding.  Meanwhile, Elaine Hibbs, Garden Organic’s Horticultural Therapist took the Masters behind the scenes on a tour of the horticultural therapy gardens before involving them in an activity to demonstrate how organic gardening helps to improve mood and well-being.

“Best conference so far! Really enjoyable”

“Filled with enthusiasm to carry on in my garden in the next year”

“Brilliant event, thank you for organising . I have learnt so much and have so much to take back to my fellow learners, gardeners and family.”

David Garrett says: “The Conference is also always a welcome opportunity for our volunteers to network and share best practice and tips with fellow volunteers in the scheme.  We’ve had  great feedback from people who attended; saying they found the conference to be inspiring, educational and motivating.”

And it wouldn’t be the Masters Conference if it didn’t end with a well-earned slice of grow-your-own themed cake.

Charles Dowding and Margi Lennartsson cut the cakes

To view more photos from the day click here

For more information on no-dig gardening visit Charles Dowding’s website http://www.charlesdowding.co.uk

Download handouts and presentations from the day here:

HANDOUT – Boost your mood with Gardening – workshop by Elaine Hibbs

HANDOUT – Biodynamic gardening – workshop by Rachael O’Kelly from the Biodynamic Association

(article reproduced with thanks to Kitchen Garden magazine)

HANDOUT – Slow bread for busy lives – workshop with Alison McGrath

HANDOUT – Why does my plant look like this? – recognising plant disorders with Anton Rosenfeld

HANDOUT – Alex’s compost kitchen – recipes for using your compost with Alex Heelis

Link to further recipes – I Don’t Dig Peat

Link to Growing Health factsheets used in Margi Lennartsson’s workshop ‘Growing for health and happiness’

 PRESENTATION – Growing for health and happiness with Margi Lennartsson

PRESENTATION – Trial and Error: learning from our members’ experiments with Francis Rayns

 

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Photos on flickr