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Over 10,000 volunteer hours!

Over 10,000 volunteer hours!

Garden Organic is amazed and grateful.

Our keen Master Gardeners have donated over 10,000 hours since May 2010. Many, many thanks.

All these hours have helped people and communities grow their own fruit and veg in Warwickshire, Norfolk, and central London boroughs; our Local Food funded networks.

We’re just as stunned in Lincolnshire with our NHS partners – nearly 800 hours since March 2011!

Local Food networks: May 2010 to Feb 2012

All in a smile...

  • 10,312 recorded volunteer hours helping people grow fruit and veg
  • 84% (259) of trained Master Gardeners volunteering
  • 2,822 people in 1,298 mentored households (907 under 16) receiving food growing advice and support from their local volunteer
  • 30,037 food growing conversations. Each one counts
  • 380 community groups/events supported

Lincolnshire: March 2011 to March 2012


  • 737 recorded volunteer hours
  • 100% (67) volunteer retention
  • 339 people in 94 mentored households (77 under 16)
  • 3,871 food growing conversations
  • 39 Master Gardeners helping new community gardens
  • 17 local events supported

Advice and support

Behind the numbers: case studies

The future

Welcome to our new volunteers. We’ve nearly finished training almost 100 lovely new Master Gardeners in all networks – and they’re looking for people to help grow food. Click here

Huge thanks to our team: Kate, Kate, Fiona, Gabbie, Rick and Susan. Together with all the enthusiastic folk at Garden Organic.

We’re now looking for funding partners to help us continue and expand the impact of this programme in 2013 and beyond in new and specialist areas. Please click here to read more about future areas.

Read more about Garden Organic here.

With many thanks,

Philip Turvil

Project Manager,
Master Gardener Programme, Garden Organic

Master Gardener Jo graduates on her birthday!

New Master Gardeners! Ready to get out and about locally

Our spring 2012 'household events'; nearly 500 people across five days to swap growing tips and celebrate local food growing. Seed bomb making pictured during an especially busy moment!

Master Gardeners become London 2012 Local Leaders

Train the trainer training...

Master Gardener Adam on the BBC attracting would-be food growers

The personal touch: Master Gardener Paul with pub landlord Neil

Master Gardener Joe and friends

Posted in Case studies0 Comments

Master Gardeners help 30,000 people grow food

Master Gardeners help 30,000 people grow food

Garden Organic’s Master Gardeners have excelled themselves in helping communities grow their own food.

Our autumn/winter reports reports have revealed the latest achievements of the volunteer networks in Warwickshire, Norfolk and London.

Thanks to our partners: local authorities, Sheepdrove Trust, and Big Lottery fund’s Local Food scheme.

Thanks to our team: Kate, Kate, Fiona, and Gabbie. Together with all the keen folk at Garden Organic.

Just the facts – May 2010 to Nov 2011

  • 9,051 recorded volunteer hours helping people grow fruit and veg.
  • 85% (263) of trained Master Gardeners out and about in their community. Thank you.
  • Nearly 250 more households this quarter, totalling 1,134 mentored. Includes 2,532 residents growing food; 816 under 16.
  • Another 5,650 conversations, totalling 27,395 people helped.
  • 69 new community groups/events supported, totalling 355.

Behind the numbers: case studies

We’re training another 80 Master Gardeners in spring 2012.
Please click here to get involved…

We trained 85 new volunteers during in autumn 2011.
Please click here to find out how…

NEWS! Lincolnshire network makes an impact

Our Lincolnshire programme has grown hugely since beginning in March 2011 thanks to co-ordinator Rick Aron and – now six local authority partners with the Health and Wellbeing Fund/NHS.

  • 51 lovely volunteers reporting an amazing 400 hours.
  • 41 households with over 100 residents focused on new community gardens.
  • Over 1,500 food growing conversations

The future

We’ve put together new proposals for creating local, tailored Master Gardener networks for new funding and operational partners. We’re trialling these at the moment…

Click here to read more about future areas.

With many thanks,

Philip Turvil

Project Manager,
Master Gardener Programme, Garden Organic

Posted in Case studies, Featured, News0 Comments

Pruning master classes

Pruning master classes

We swapped seeds for secateurs this autumn with fruit pruning workshops in every programme area. Diverse training from October to December…

Volunteers had practical demonstrations in how to prune fruit bushes, trees and canes. Then had a go with secateurs and loppers at ‘donated’ orchards in Warwickshire, London, Norfolk and Lincolnshire.

As always, our training was designed for Master Gardeners to swap tips together – as an enthusiastic network, and get ideas to inspire and help their community grow their own food.

Huge thanks to all our trainers and venues. Thoroughly appreciated.

More in-service training days are coming up in 2012. See the latest dates here

Please click through to local stories to find out more…

London – Master Gardener fruit tree pruning

Warwickshire – Fruit delights for Master Gardeners

Lincolnshire – A visit to Woodlands Organic Farm

Norfolk – Workshop on Apple Pests & Diseases

Click here to open Garden Organic’s free  fruit growing literature.

Posted in Case studies, Featured0 Comments

‘Gardening goes viral’ – Kitchen Garden article

‘Gardening goes viral’ – Kitchen Garden article

We’re delighted to feature in the December edition of Kitchen Garden magazine.

The three-page article captures the enthusiasm of Garden Organic’s Master Gardeners helping people grow food in London and county networks.

Journalist and grower Helen Babbs showcased her day with volunteers at a Master Gardener training day earlier in the year – which included fig rolls…

Please click here to read Kitchen Garden’s article (link opens Helen’s website)

Special thanks to Kitchen Garden’s editor, Steve Ott and his team for the trouble taken putting together this lovely feature. Please click here for more content from their December edition…

Click here to visit Kitchen Garden’s website – leading magazine for GYO advice

Click here for more news from Master Gardeners..

Posted in Case studies, Featured0 Comments

Promoting healthy growth in urban gardening

Promoting healthy growth in urban gardening

Master Gardeners have featured in the Guardian newspaper after journalist Chris Arnot visited volunteers and their households in summer…

Please click here to see the article
(link opens a new page)

Click here to read about our research this autumn with Coventry University into the social, environment and health impacts of the Master Gardener programme.

Click here for more programme news…

Posted in Case studies, Featured0 Comments

Pilot research hints at impact of Master Gardeners

Pilot research hints at impact of Master Gardeners

Early reports from our pilot questionnaire are hinting at interesting results to come….

We wrote to a sample of our mentored household in August 2010 to trial our new questionnaires before launching this autumn. It’s part of our partnership with Coventry University to discover the health, environmental and social impact of the Master Gardener Programme. Click here to read the full story…

The results of the full research are pending. So in the meantime, some unofficial but interesting quotes from the pilot!

We’re reaching individuals, couples, families – with main benefits for joining the programme described as:

“Delicious fruit and veg! The kids love it too and a real sense of achievement”

“Growing more in our small patch”

“Nudged me into organic gardening”

“To benefit from the advice, working with someone and the encouragement”

Master Gardeners described as:

“…kind, helpful and inspiring”

“…extremely supportive without putting undue pressure on me!”

Most households reported growing more food – a greater range, and with increased knowledge of food growing! While space and time reported as limiting factors…

Click here to find your local Master Gardeners for 12 months free growing advice

Click here to read more case studies

Click here to become a Master Gardener…

Posted in Case studies0 Comments

In the words of Master Gardeners…

In the words of Master Gardeners…

Case studies excite the Master Gardener team. Hearing the stories and challenges of being a volunteer who helps other people grow food.

So, in honour of publishing our latest reports from the sunny quarter of March, April and May 2011, we’ve put together bonus case studies below.

They include links to more stories, more photos, and more tales from volunteer Master Gardeners…


Mentoring young families in Warwickshire

Master Gardener Mandy Lee brought along three of the families she mentors to Ryton Gardens in April.

Mandy has recruited lots of young families who want to grow their own veg by promoting the scheme through her daughter’s school and planting seeds with the local pre-school.

She holds regular sessions with her households, including one in March where they made loo roll pots, planted parsnips and made mini propagators with large yoghurt pots!

Click here to read more case studies from Warwickshire Master Gardeners

Celebrating school growing in Islington

Master Gardener Clare Panjwani works with two schools: South Haringey Infant and Junior Schools.

She runs a session with the Junior School every Friday afternoon. They are taking part in the Real Bread Campaign’s ‘Bake Your Lawn’ project. As well as covering sustianability issues by recycling pots and harvesting rainwater.

Clare has also written the lovely ‘New River Garden Newsletter’ (pictured) to celebrate what the children have achieved and to engage parents in what they’ve been up to.

Click here to read more case studies from Islington Master Gardeners

Out and about in Norfolk

Master Gardeners attended 14 events across the county in the last three months – all published online (pictured).

Local events included Eaton Rise Residents garden fundraising morning where Anne Whittaker and Rebecca Clark gave their time and expertise and helped in the raising of over £650 for plants in the community.

Great Hockham Farmer’s Market saw Master Gardener, Bev Page team up with Master Composter Dawn Jessett.

Joe Crabb and his face painting friends held a plant and advice stand at the Fairhaven gardensm while Bob Brady engaged an inquisitive young audience at Grow your Own in the library at Downham Market.

Click here to read more case studies from Norfolk Master Gardeners

New volunteers welcomed in South London

Nineteen knowledgeable and enthusiastic volunteers became Master Gardeners in April 2011.

They joined existing 37 Master Gardeners to make a total of 56 active locally – and over 240 nationally.

It was a jam-packed couple of days of activities, talking non-stop about fruit and veg, and networking. Guest speakers included Master Gardeners Philip and Claire from previous training weekends sharing their experiences.

Within hours of completing the course, our new MGs were adding events, blogs, case studies and their profiles to the website.

Click here to read more case studies from South London Master Gardeners

New community garden in Lincolnshire

Master Gardeners joined the Mayor of Boston to officially open Central Park Community Garden in the Borough.

This new programme recruits Master Gardeners from council-started community gardens in Boston and East Lindsey.

Volunteers help people at these new sites – and beyond to get growing, including wonderful links NHS referrals and local cooking programmes.

Click here to read more case studies from Lincolnshire Master Gardeners

Many thanks to our Master Gardeners and team of marvellous co-ordinators for these extracts from recent achievements.

Posted in Case studies0 Comments

Beautiful “Painted Ladies” thank Master Gardener

Beautiful “Painted Ladies” thank Master Gardener

Hilary Scarlett – one of Master Gardener Brigid Philip’s households has done this beautiful painting of her rapidly growing climbing beans to thank Brigid for her help.


Click here to find your local Master Gardener

Posted in Case studies, Featured0 Comments

Have you seen our Local Food blog?

Have you seen our Local Food blog?

We’ve got a brand new webpage thanks to our funders at the Big Lottery Fund’s Local Food Scheme.

It’s a great new place to swap ideas with other funded programmes and promote case studies of our Master Gardeners.

Please click here to have a look at our first blog

And click here to have a look round some of the other programmes Local Food supports around the UK…

Posted in Case studies0 Comments

Volunteer master class

Volunteer master class

Stories from across the programme about Master Gardeners inspiring people to get growing. They show that whatever the crop, whatever the space, food growing is important for a healthy diet and lifestyle, learning skills, and bringing people together.

Case study 1 – Warwickshire

Stratford Food festival. Master Gardeners shared this event with Master Composters and Transition Stratford. Working together allowed this successful larger event, with more people to support and offer a more interesting stall to attract visitors.

Meanwhile, Robert in Baginton supports a number of households to grow food. After an initial visit, he follows up with regular emails, offering growing tips and what to do in the garden now. He has also written articles for his local newsletter and offers his expertise to a local primary school.

Pictured: Nuneaton and Bedworth volunteer centre open day

Case study 2 – Norfolk

Master Gardener Penny loves chatting to people and does many local events, such as this one pictured in her village hall. Penny has also taken Master Gardener into the Thetford Garden Centre and enjoyed a very successful open evening event.

Meanwhile, one of Brigid’s mentored households is single mum Sue, who is keen to grow vegetables to supplement her tight housekeeping budget. Brigid has suggested great money saving ideas such as growing comfrey for home-made liquid feed. Brigid has also introduced Sue to no-dig gardening to make it easier on her back.

Case study 3 – South London

Master Gardener Christine uses several approaches to find households. These include following up contact make at event, getting referrals from the volunteer co-ordinator via the website, and encouraging her work colleagues to sign up.

Christine has also approached housing associations and gone along to their existing gardening clubs or residents association meetings to explain more about the programme. This eclectic approach has worked well for Christine who has popularised the Master Gardener programme as she goes!

Case study 4 – Islington

Caroline is well known locally for gardening knowledge, both at Culpeper Community Garden where she has a plot, and at her fortnightly Columbia Road plant stall. But since becoming a Master Gardener, she has giving more than just tips to people in passing. By signing people up as households, Caroline can offer ongoing support that she finds really rewarding.

Caroline also offers online support and advice to Project Dirt members with her Master Gardener hat on. She recently helped out on the panel of a gardener’s question time at St Luke’s Centre to answer local gardening queries and problems.

Read more case studies from across the programme

Many thanks to our Master Gardeners and team of co-ordinators for these extracts from recent achievements.

Click here to contact us and thsee area links for more local stories: Warwickshire, Islington, south London, Norfolk

Posted in Case studies, Featured0 Comments

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We’re creating a model to establish custom networks of volunteer Master Gardeners in more UK areas. More information available here.

Photos on flickr