Master Gardeners offer local people and communities free food growing advice and support.
The networks of enthusiastic volunteers are fully trained and supported by the UK’s leading organic growing charity, Garden Organic. This innovative approach began in 2010 with funding from the Big Lottery Fund’s Local Food Scheme, Sheepdrove Trust and local authorities in four areas: Warwickshire, North London, South London and Norfolk.
Every area has since expanded and we’ve launched new networks with Public Health support in Lincolnshire, Medway, and HMP Rye Hill with G4S. Please click here to read how Master Gardeners have helped 65,000 people grow their own food.
In November 2013, we won the prestigious national ‘Education and Learning’ award from the BIG Lottery Fund’s Local Food Scheme – a £59.8 million national grant programme. We were commended for ‘inspirational work to create a team of mentors who share knowledge across the board with support from an online network’.
Garden Organic is developing ‘models’ to sustain and expand Master Gardener networks to meet local needs through tailored delivery. Please visit our future areas pages for more information and contact us about starting a volunteer network near you.
- Recruit Master Gardeners to promote the benefits and skills of growing your own food to their local communities and households.
- Actively train and support our valuable volunteers with local co-ordinators offering guidance and resources.
- Work closely with our local partners to exceed their aims and develop the Master Gardener model to expand nationally.
Master Gardeners was inspired by the success of Garden Organic’s Master Composter Programme. This has over 500 volunteers nationally with twelve local authority partners.
Master Composters reported a surge of interest in food growing – as did Garden Organic through their research.
The public’s demand for allotments, advice, and support has now rocketed thanks to high profile campaigns, food and health concerns, community growing networks, and a changing society intent on learning how to grow their own local, organic produce.
The Master Gardener programme, like Master Composters, works by cascade learning – or train the trainer, where people benefit from each other’s knowledge and are influenced by those around them, such as friends, neighbours, family, and work colleagues.
This approach has been shown to trigger and support behavioural change – in our case, more own food growing. See Coventry University’s research.
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