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Now recruiting volunteers: Norfolk and south London

Now recruiting volunteers: Norfolk and south London

We looking for new Master Gardeners to join a volunteer network supporting local people and communities to grow fruit and vegetables in their gardens and communal land. This exciting pilot programme is funded by the Big Lottery Fund’s Local Food scheme, Sheepdrove Trust and local partners.

Our Norfolk programme kick starts this September. Volunteers are invited to apply now for a two-day foundation course taking place on the 18 and 19 September at Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse Museum.
Click for more details
Contact co-ordinator Gabbie Sharp

Our south London programme continues strongly this October after our inaugural training in June. Volunteers are now invited to apply now for a two-day foundation course taking place on the 9 and 10 October in one of the three programme boroughs: Wandswroth, Lambeth, and Southwark
Click for more details
Contact co-ordinator Sarah Cannon

Read about our:
Warwickshire programme

Islington programme

Further details
Volunteer co-ordinator Gabbie Sharp explains, “More and more people are becoming interested in growing their own food for reasons ranging from protecting the environment, health, and saving money. Each volunteer Master Gardener will support and encourage 10 local householders to grow their own food.”

Following in the footsteps of its sister scheme – Master Composters – the new Master Gardeners will go out into the community to promote the benefits of food growing through events, community talks, and practical demos. The role of a Master Gardener is not only getting more people into gardening and growing their own, but also to support them through any difficulties.

The great thing about the scheme is you don’t have to be an expert to be eligible to volunteer. All that is required is some experience of growing your own, together with a passion for encouraging others to have a go. Full Master Gardener training is provided covering everything a volunteer should need to know, with additional support from a dedicated Master Gardener manual, interactive website and all of the resources of Garden Organic.

Notes

The Master Gardener programme is an exciting network of volunteer mentors that help people and communities grow their own; to offer them reasons to grow food, remove barriers against, teach growing skills, and offer support. The programme has also launched in Warwickshire, Islington, and south London (Wandsworth, Lambeth and Southwark).

Garden Organic is the UK’s leading organic growing charity dedicated to researching and promoting organic gardening, farming and food, and has been at the forefront of the organic horticulture movement for 50 years. The charity, which has over 40,000 supporters, reaches more than three million beneficiaries across the world and is based at Garden Organic Ryton in Warwickshire.

Local Food has been developed by a consortium of 16 national environmental organisations, and is managed on their behalf by the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts (RSWT). Supported by the Big Lottery Fund’s Changing Spaces programme, Local Food will distribute grants to a variety of food related projects to make locally grown food more accessible.

The Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts (RSWT) is a registered charity, incorporated by Royal Charter, to promote conservation and manage environmental programmes throughout the whole of the UK. It has established management systems for holding and distributing funds totalling more than £20 million annually to environmental projects across the UK.

The Big Lottery Fund’s Changing Spaces programme was launched in November 2005 to help communities enjoy and improve their local environments. The programme funds a range of activities from local food schemes and farmers markets, to education projects teaching people about the local environment.

The Big Lottery Fund, the largest of the National Lottery good cause distributors, has been rolling out £2 million in Lottery good cause money every 24 hours to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK. http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk.

Posted in Featured, News2 Comments

Master Gardeners at START festival 8-19 September 2010

Master Gardeners at START festival 8-19 September 2010


We’ve been invited to a very special event by Garden Organic’s patron, HRH The Prince of Wales who is holding his very own festival of sustainability from 8-19th September.

He will be joining forces with musicians, comedians, environmental experts and some of Britain’s best known companies and celebrities to create ‘A Garden Party To Make A Difference’.

This special event takes place within the normally private gardens of Clarence House, Marlborough and Lancaster House on the Mall, in London, providing a very unique opportunity for members of the public to ‘see behind the Palace walls’.

The event will cover everything from gardening, to eating, to exploring more sustainable ways to heat our homes all with a view to getting people to ‘start’ making positive, sustainable lifestyle changes.

VISIT THE START WEBSITE

Garden Organic is leading the gardening section and would love for Master Gardeners to help us share organic food growing knowledge and skills with members of the public. We will be signing people up to the One Pot Pledge and sharing information and advice with festival goers. We’re also hoping to be joined by Master Composters.

The twelve days of Master Gardener….

Master Gardeners are going to START everyday! We’re delighted to announce a full schedule of volunteers during 8-19 September 2010. Our huge thanks to them and organising efforts of the MG team.

More details will follow separately to everyone attending, such as where to go and what to wear/say/do/don’t do…

Any questions, contact Kate Newman. Call 02476 217721 or click here to email her

With many thanks,

Philip, Kate N, Sarah C, Kate F and Gabbie

The Master Gardener Team

Posted in Featured0 Comments

Flowers good enough to eat

Flowers good enough to eat

English (Pot) Marigolds are best known for their cheerful approach to life, brightening up pots, gardens and allotments with colourful flowers. But there’s more. The outer petals are a tasty snack too, especially when they’re just opening.

Remove the whole flower stem after harvesting to the nearest bud (as you would if deadheading a rose bush). This will encourage even more flowers. Plants will carry on flowering until autumn and you can save the seeds for sowing your ‘crop’ next year outdoors  from March.

Look out for Calendula officinalis and various varieties, such as Double Art Shades.

Leave your comments below

English (Pot) Marigold growing instructions
Article by Philip Turvil. Want to suggest a feature crop? Get in touch here

Posted in Edible flower, Featured, Growing tips4 Comments

100th Master Gardener welcomed

100th Master Gardener welcomed

Garden Organic are delighted to have trained over 100 volunteer Master Gardeners in our three programme areas; Warwickshire, Islington and south London.

Each volunteer mentors 10 households just starting to grow their own, as well as promote food growing to their community through events, talks, stalls and schools (however suits them). They share their food growing experience and passion to help others have a go.

Islington Master Gardener Ann Morris said: “I gain huge sense of accomplishment growing my own food and I want to pass this feeling onto others. I’m looking forward to running a food growing workshop with people learning English at the St Mary Magdalene Centre tomorrow and hoping to recruit households to support from this event and others upcoming.”

Project manager Philip Turvil said: “I’m thoroughly delighted to welcome so many lovely volunteers that belief everyone can grow food, whether in a garden or allotment, on their balcony, windowsill or communal land. Even in the short time since our five, two-day foundation courses to get volunteers started, they’ve found lots of innovative and exciting ways to talk to people about growing fruit and veg – and all organically. My thanks to all of them and our Warwickshire co-ordinator Kate Newman and south London co-ordinator Sarah Cannon”.

Read local stories about new volunteers

Islington: First Islington Master Gardeners trained

Islington: New Islington Master Gardeners out and about

South London: Our first group of volunteer Master Gardeners!

Warwickshire: Welcome to the new Master Gardeners

Warwickshire: Master Gardeners in Warwickshire – part 2!

What’s next

There are exciting times ahead for the programme. The new Islington co-ordinator Kate Fenhalls joins the team in July and more new Master Gardeners are being welcomed to launch the Norfolk programme from August 2010. Current volunteers will continue with active support from their area co-ordinators with extra advice, resources and further in-service training (the first in August).

Contact the programme team here

Find out more about the programme here

Recommend a local partner to start a new Master Gardener programme in your area

The programme is funded by the Big Lottery Fund’s Local Food scheme and Sheepdrove Trust with local authorities. This three year pilot programme is intended to role out in more areas to follow the national success of Garden Organic’s Master Composter scheme (over 550 volunteers in 12 areas).

Posted in Featured, News3 Comments

Last chance for Kohl Rabi

Last chance for Kohl Rabi

July is the last month to sow this lovely looking veg.

Kohl Rabi isn’t well known, but boasts tasty  green or brilliantly purple swollen bases to harvest, ready in as little as eight weeks after growing in pots or your garden allotment. Harvest when golf ball size for best flavour and pluck off leaves too for a bonus crop.

This crop is part of the brassica family. A lovely family. Also includes cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale, radish and rocket.

Leave your comments below

Kohl Rabi growing instructions
Article by Philip Turvil. Want to suggest a feature crop? Get in touch here

Posted in Featured, Growing tips, Vegetables2 Comments

Master Gardeners praised at Garden Organic's AGM

Master Gardeners praised at Garden Organic's AGM

Volunteer Master Gardeners are important for future food growing skills in the UK, according to expert speakers at Garden Organic’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Saturday 22 May 2010.

They praised the innovative model of training and supporting volunteers to act as food growing mentors to help local communities grow fruit and veg. There is urgent need to redress skill shortages in food growing according to Garden Organic’s president and Government advisor, Professor Tim Lang.

The Master Gardener programme has a special role to play in building the qualitative and quantitative data that really shows what behavioural change is possible when urban food growing in enabled. Good data is needed to justify the costs of such community food growing programmes when budgets are being cut so much by Government.

Each Master Gardener actively supports 10 households for 12 month periods with an entry and exist survey to measure the impact.

Also praised at the AGM

Story by Philip Turvil

Master Gardener and Composter join forces at Garden Oorganics AGM - growing advice on left; compost advice on right with the virtual compost game

Master Gardener and Composter join forces at Garden Oorganic's AGM - growing advice on left; compost advice on right with the virtual compost game

Questions and debate at the AGM

Questions and debate at the AGM

Posted in Featured, News5 Comments

South London programme starts!

South London programme starts!

We’re delighted that the south London Master Gardener programme has begun with co-ordinator Sarah Cannon now out and about locally. Sarah is recruiting our first volunteers for June training.

We’re recruiting through the ‘street rep’ network of our local partners, Food Up Front and through local growing groups and initiatives (including via the local authority partners to be announced). It an exciting and a busy time. We’re looking for training venues and inspiring food growing sites to visit.

South London timetable

We welcomed volunteer co-ordinator Sarah Cannon to Garden Organic. She is now locally based in Lambeth.

Recruiting our first volunteer Master Gardener from May for our two-day foundation training course  in June 2010

Recruiting more Master Gardeners for foundation courses in September 2010 and spring 2011.

Ongoing support for south London Master Gardeners from Sarah and the programme team. Includes top-up training, resources, advice, etc. Starts after our first Master Gardeners enrol!

Find out more

Visit the south London website (under construction). See Islington and Warwickshire sites to see what’s on it’s way for south London…

Contact Sarah about enrolling in the south London programme

Penny and Katie at Transition Brixton community shop with Master Gardener volunteer co-ordinator Sarah Cannon (on left)

New local partners: Penny (middle) and Katie (right) at their Transition Town Brixton community shop with Master Gardener volunteer co-ordinator Sarah Cannon (left)

Posted in Featured, News0 Comments

Programme gets ready to launch in Norfolk

Programme gets ready to launch in Norfolk

We’ve been in Norfolk this month preparing to launch the Master Gardener programme in August 2010. It’s very exciting.

Project manager Philip Turvil met our new local partners Hannah and Robin from Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse, part of Norfolk County Council. We followed a day of meetings with another day meeting locals at Gressenhall’s popular ‘Feast of Food and Farming’. See the photo captions for who we met.

Norfolk timeline

Recruiting volunteer co-ordinator for Norfolk (June 2010)

Recruiting our first volunteer Master Gardener from August for two-day foundation training course  in September 2010

Recruiting more Master Gardeners for another foundation course in Spring 2011

Ongoing support for Norfolk Master Gardeners from co-ordinator. Include top-up training, resources, advice, etc. Starts after our first Master Gardeners enroll!

Local partner Hannah Jackson giving out free radish seeds to budding gardeners at Gressenhalls Feast of Food and Farming event, dressed up to tell stories of past local growing

Local partner Hannah Jackson giving out free radish seeds to budding gardeners at Gressenhall's Feast of Food and Farming event. She's dressed up to tell stories of past local growing, linking to museum exhibits on site

Talking to Norfolk locals interested in becoming Master Gardeners and other interested in food growing advice from Master Gardeners once the programme starts

Talking to Norfolk locals interested in becoming Master Gardeners and others interested in food growing advice from Master Gardeners once the programme starts

Norfolk Master Composters were out in force at Gressenhall. Were looking forward to the two programmes working together and sharing future events

Norfolk Master Composters were out in force at Gressenhall. We're looking forward to the two programmes working together and sharing future events

Were looking forward to working with Norfolk Organic Group to launch the local Master Gardener programme.  Theyre a great bunch with a vibrant event programme and keen members keen to help others grow organically!

We're looking forward to working with Norfolk Organic Group to launch the local Master Gardener programme. They're a great bunch with a vibrant event programme and keen members keen to help others grow organically!

Norfolk Master Composter programme co-ordinator David being interviewed by local Wayland Radio about training new volunteers

Norfolk Master Composter co-ordinator David being interviewed by local Wayland Radio about training new volunteers

Posted in Featured, News1 Comment

Master Gardener programme launched

Master Gardener programme launched

Garden Organic has trained their first ‘Master Gardeners’ to help people and communities grow their own food

Islington Master Gardeners in training
Islington Master Gardeners in training

This exciting programme is Local Food (Big Lottery) funded with kind support from Sheepdrove Organic Farm and local authorities in four regions. The programme is based on the national success of the Master Composter programme where Garden Organic recruit, train, and actively support community volunteers.

Our terrific Master Gardeners have already promoted grow your own to local communities with a number of events, talks, and articles, as well as offered 12 months support to households just starting to grow food.




Find out more

Islington programme

Warwickshire programme

South London programme

Norfolk – coming August 2010

Contacts us here

Posted in Featured, News10 Comments

Warwickshire Master Gardeners receive tips from the top

Warwickshire Master Gardeners receive tips from the top

The first Master Gardeners from Warwickshire gathered at Garden Organic’s Ryton headquarters to learn about the programme, share tips and advice and meet other growing enthusiasts.

Find your nearest Warwickshire Master Gardener for local advice growing food – including the chance for 12 month free support

Posted in Featured, News0 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