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About

About



 

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.

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Programme aims

Sowing demonstrations by local Master Gardeners

Sowing demonstrations

  • 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.

Programme inspiration

Its Master Composters that reported an increase in questions about growing fruit and vegetables that helped inspire the Master Gardener programme

Responding to demand for food growing mentors

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.

Master Composters in training

Master Composters in training

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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  • St Mathew Bloxham vegetable garden Posted on 6 July 2015
    I have been making a vegetable garden for the School .All the beds are now up,filled with soil, and rocket early potatoes and Sutton broad beans planted. There are two beds for str...
  • Growing at MIND Hub Posted on 6 July 2015
    This project, delivered at Rugby Wellbeing Hub with the Master Gardeners, John and Sandy Young, commenced in the middle of March.  From the outset there was enthusiasm and involve...
  • St Mathew Bloxham vegetable garden Posted on 6 July 2015
    Greenhouse now has tomatoes growing, rocket early potatoes nearly ready to harvest. Some radishes harvested and strawberries, courgettes growing well,also cucumbers and sweetcorn, ...
  • St Mathew Bloxham Vegetable Garden Posted on 6 July 2015
    On Thursday 4th June, JLR community volunteers helped replace wooden edging, lay bark paths, Creosoted raised beds, make two more raised beds and put a slab base and errect a 8...
  • St Mathew Bloxham vegetable garden Posted on 28 April 2015
    I have been making a vegetable garden for the School .All the beds are now up,filled with soil, and rocket early potatoes and Sutton broad beans planted. There are two beds for str...
  • A great end to a great project Posted on 8 June 2016
    Our wonderful North London Master Gardener programme, Growing for Health, has now come to an end. The project ran from 2014-16 across the boroughs of Camden and Islington. In that ...
  • Kill or cure? Plants as medicine at In Service Training day and social Posted on 14 December 2015
    Plants evolved to avoid being eaten – so most of them are poisonous – but that hasn’t stopped us making good use of their toxicity to create useful medicines. Nor...
  • Free wildflower kits! Posted on 18 November 2015
    Master Gardeners enthusiastically took part in Kew’s Grow Wild programme last year, transforming spaces into colourful, bee-friendly wildflower havens. The good news is that you ...
  • Courgette pasta at Aberdeen Park Posted on 11 September 2015
    By Master Gardener Dorothy Aberdeen Park is an 11-bed rehabilitation unit, part of Camden and Islington NHS Foundation in North London. It offers support with independent living fo...
  • Master Gardeners nail upcycling at In-Service Training workshop Posted on 7 September 2015
    What can you make out of scrap wood, abandoned pallets and disposable brewery kegs? Amazing things, as North London Master Gardeners found out at their latest In-Service Training D...
  • Goodbye Master Gardeners and Food Buddies Posted on 15 May 2017
    It’s now the end of the Master Gardener/Food Buddy programme in Croydon. We’ve had an amazing couple of years and we’ve seen community food growing and healthy ea...
  • Chutneys and preserves at In-Service Training day Posted on 21 November 2016
    What a wonderful autumn In-Service Training Day for Master Gardeners and Food Buddies, learning to make chutneys and quick-cook jam at Mum’s the Chef cafe in Croydon. We chop...
  • Food Buddy Kate Brown Posted on 6 June 2016
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  • Pakoras and pumpkins! Croydon has new Food Buddies Posted on 16 May 2016
    What a great day’s Induction Training we had on Saturday (May 14th) when 8 more enthusiastic Food Buddies joined us! We were only minutes in before the new volunteers started...
  • Growing on prescription Posted on 5 May 2016
    This great idea, where GP’s turn over outdoor space for community gardening so patients can grow their own could work in Croydon! Story and picture from The Guardian. The Lam...
  • Meet the Master Gardeners and Growing Buddies Posted on 6 September 2016
    This weekend you can take your chance to ask those all important growing questions, get some fantastic advice, find out how Garden Organic Volunteers can help you or your local com...
  • WILD STRAWBERRIES Posted on 6 September 2016
    Small and sweet and no need to net, but you’ll never get too many just the odd tasty treat now and again. If you’re lucky enough to spot some growing wild then one or two berri...
  • How are your grafts going? Posted on 7 June 2016
    For those Breckland Master Gardeners and Norfolk Master Composters who attended the grafter’s course in February, can you let me know how things are progressing? It seems that qu...
  • Gooseberry – Size and Picking Posted on 7 June 2016
    Well now’s the time to decide big ones or little ones, or should I say fewer, but bigger? For there is always that choice to make when growing fruit you can have lots of littlies...
  • Could you be a Growing Buddy? Posted on 22 May 2016
    Now launching an exciting new volunteering opportunity in Breckland! We are recruiting volunteer ‘Growing Buddies’ to join our current network in Breckland. Growing Buddies...
  • Debbie Chessum Posted on 20 October 2015
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  • Heather Lowe Posted on 20 October 2015
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  • Spreading the organic growing message….. Posted on 2 September 2015
    I have lots of visitors to my allotment, some want to come and share tea and biscuits with me in my shed, some laze in deckchairs, some swap allotment tips while others stay for lo...
  • Forward Footing on Allotment 17b Posted on 26 August 2015
    On Monday 24 August I hosted a Wellbeing funded art project on my allotment! I was pleased that several members of Dementia Support South Lincolnshire attended, along with several ...
  • Lincolnshire Master Gardeners at Big Boston Festival Posted on 17 July 2015
    I was asked to make some creative interventions for the BBG festival site for the weekend of 4/5 July and also provide some activities on the day….I asked MG Tracy of Boston ...
  • Welcome to Somerset Master Gardeners Posted on 21 November 2012
      Garden Organic is delighted to announce our partnership with Somerset Community Food to support volunteer ‘Master Gardeners’ to help communities grow their own f...
  • A fresh start Posted on 11 November 2014
      Trying to beat a drug addiction is a huge challenge. Trying to detox whilst serving a prison sentence can be even more complex. But sometimes the simple things in life can h...
  • Blogs coming soon Posted on 9 February 2013
    Our programme at HMP Rye Hill begins in spring 2013. Please visit back soon for latest blogs. In the meantime, please click here to read Master Gardener blogs from across the UK Ab...
  • Case studies coming soon Posted on 9 February 2013
    Our programme at HMP Rye Hill begins in spring 2013. Please visit back soon for latest case studies. In the meantime, please click here to read case studies from our Master Gardene...
We’re creating a model to establish custom networks of volunteer Master Gardeners in more UK areas. More information available here.

Photos on flickr