Posted on 26 November 2013.
Garden Organic’s Master Gardener Programme is celebrating success after scooping the prestigious national ‘Education and Learning’ award, at the Local Food Awards.
Competing against education and learning projects from across England, Garden Organic impressed the independent Local Food Panel with their model for cascading growing knowledge, backed by a central resource – in the form of an online network. They received their top prize at the awards ceremony at The Lowry in Manchester.
Philip Turvil, Master Gardener Programme Manager, said:
“We are delighted that Garden Organic’s Master Gardener Programme has won such a prestigious award to celebrate the achievements of our volunteers and our team’s approach to finding and supporting such enthusiastic growing mentors.
“The Master Gardener Programme delivers wide-reaching benefits that go beyond just growing food. It’s also about a healthy lifestyle, community and improving the environment.
“We don’t want to just train Master Gardener volunteers the best way of growing a lettuce for lunch. We want to show them how to pass this information on to others in the community, to share their passion and experience so that everyone is learning from each other and feeling the benefits. It’s fantastic that this award recognises all the work that goes into achieving this. Thank you to each Master Gardener, our local partners, and Local Food.”
Read about the impacts of Master Gardeners
Mark Wheddon, Local Food Programme Manager, said:
“The Local Food Awards are a unique opportunity to celebrate and reward the dedicated people who are delivering some of the excellent projects we have funded. All of our projects deserve recognition for the work they do, but we are delighted for Garden Organic on their success at the Awards.
“Their inspirational work to create a team of mentors who share knowledge across the board with support from an online network, saw them edge ahead of their competitors.”
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Master Gardeners Rodney and Sue with the award!
About the awards
The Local Food Awards are an opportunity to recognise, reward and celebrate some of the hundreds of outstanding community projects that Local Food has funded since the programme opened in 2008.
All 500 Local Food projects were invited to enter the Awards in four categories – Small Grants, Community Food Growing, Education and Learning, and Enterprise. Shortlisted projects were put before an external panel in September, and the winners in each category were unveiled today during the Local Food Celebratory Event at The Lowry in Manchester.
About the Master Gardener Programme
Since 2009, the Master Gardener Programme has received funding from Local Food to develop a practical model for a volunteer support network to encourage and mentor people and communities to grow fruit and vegetables in their gardens and on local communal land.
This has involved the recruitment of a co-ordination team based in Warwickshire, London and Norfolk, who have trained and supported 475 Master Gardeners who have given 18,500 hours to promote home food production. The volunteers have impacted on the lives of 4,300 people in mentored ‘households’ and another 52,000 people through workshops and other support for local groups.
Today, thousands more people are benefiting from growing food with Master Gardeners thanks to commissions to start networks in new areas
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Master Gardeners celebrating with the Award
More Master Gardeners celebrating with the Award1
Local Food Certificate and Trophy
L to R: Graham Smith presents the Award to Garden Organic’s Philip Turvil & Kate Newman
150 people from Local Food projects gathered at the Lowry, Manchester
- Garden Organic (www.gardenorganic.org.uk) is the UK’s leading organic growing charity dedicated to promoting organic gardening in homes, communities and schools. Using innovation and inspiration, the charity aims to get more people growing in the most sustainable way. Garden Organic delivers through renowned projects such as the Food for Life Partnership, the Master Composter and Master Gardener schemes, and the work of The Heritage Seed Library.
- Volunteer Master Gardeners benefit communities with food growing advice. The enthusiastic mentors are fully trained and supported by Garden Organic. People taking part in the programme show significant health, social and environment benefits after 12 months involvement and continued positive lifestyle change after 36 months involvement.
The innovative Master Gardener Programme began in 2010 with funding from the Big Lottery Fund’s Local Food Scheme and Sheepdrove Trust, together with local government in city and rural populations. There are now mentor networks in Warwickshire, Coventry, North London, South London, Norfolk, Medway, Lincolnshire and Somerset. Garden Organic aims to develop and sustain these programme areas more nationally to follow the success of Garden Organic’s Master Composter network.
- Local Food (www.localfoodgrants.org) is a £59.8 million programme that distributes money from the Big Lottery Fund (BIG) to a variety of food-related projects to help make locally grown food accessible and affordable to communities. It was developed by a consortium of 17 national environmental organisations, and is managed by the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts (RSWT).
RSWT is a registered charity incorporated by Royal charter to promote conservation and manage environmental programmes throughout the UK. It has established management systems for holding and distributing funds totalling more than £20 million a year.
The Big Lottery Fund (www.biglotteryfund.org.uk) is the largest distributor of National Lottery good cause funding. It is committed to bringing real improvements to communities and the lives of people most in need, awarding over £4.4 billion to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK since 2004.
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