Forum login
Helping communities grow – the impact of Master Gardener volunteers

Helping communities grow – the impact of Master Gardener volunteers

Hundreds of Garden Organic volunteers have helped tens of thousands of people to benefit from growing food since we launched the Master Gardener Programme in April 2010.

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’.

We thoroughly appreciate the energy and commitment of every ‘Master Gardener’ mentor across the UK in our urban and rural networks. Each mentor has a flexible volunteer role to suit their lifestyle and interests. Each has expert support from their locally-based co-ordinator, together with bespoke resources and ongoing training.

Please click links for case studies, news, events, photos, and Facebook

Read about our health, social and environmental impacts

Volunteer achievements (spring 2010 – autumn 2013)

  • 23,000 volunteer hours in eight urban and rural networks.
  • 75% retention of 600 trained volunteers across England.
  • 5,000 people now growing food in regularly mentored ‘households’.
    Includes individuals, families and community groups.
  • 65,000 local residents supported at events, talks, estates and schools.

Coventry University’s independent evaluation shows wide ranging benefit for volunteers and households involved in the Master Gardener Programme for 12 months – and continued behavioural change after 36 months. Please see below.

 

1. Behavioural change after 12 months involvement in the Master Gardener Programme
Research from Coventry University; 299 respondents, August 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Get involved today
– volunteer, free growing advice, start Master Gardener network

 

2. Behavioural change after up to 36 months involvement in the Master Gardener Programme
As compared with 12 month outcomes. Research from Coventry University; 95 respondents, August 2013

  • 65% of households and 95% volunteers still more satisfied with their life.
  • Higher average amount of fruit and vegetables consumed per day.
  • Similar number of hours spent growing food per week.
  • 94% households still growing food with 78% growing the same or a wider range.
  • Nearly half of households and volunteer still making changes to where they buy food.

More details will be published in 2014. Please contact the Master Gardener Programme team here

“For many years we’ve been told anecdotally that gardening is good for you. What these results show is how significant the impact can be in terms of health perceptions, life satisfaction and involvement in the local community.”
Dr Moya Kneafsey, Coventry University

“[The] Master Gardener Programme is such a great scheme. It provides a proven, practical starting point for people to start growing food. It’s a way of learning by sharing others’ experience. Indeed, the approach is based on the training and goodwill of people that share their food growing skills and experience.”
Professor Tim Lang Centre for Food Policy, City University London & President of Garden Organic

“By working with volunteers in their communities, we’re showing that the initial challenges of growing your own food can be overcome. So if that first crop ends up slug eaten, rather than feel demoralised, people look for advice and support instead of giving up.”
Philip Turvil, Master Gardener Programme manager

Click here for an overview of Coventry University’s independent evaluation

Launch a Master Gardener network

Develop a commission with Garden Organic to contribute to your organisation’s health, social and environmental outcomes by launching and managing mentor networks that help people with food growing advice.

Read more about partnership opportunities

Get involved with Master Gardener networks

  • Search local events, blogs and growing advice by your nearest Master Gardeners.
  • Register for 12 months free food growing advice as one of their supported households.
  • Involve your local growing group

Find your nearest Master Gardener

Medway
Master Gardeners, Kent
North London
Master Gardeners
South London
Master Gardeners

 

Norfolk
Master Gardeners
Lincolnshire
Master Gardeners
Coventry & Warwickshire
Master Gardeners

 

Somerset
Master Gardeners
HMP Rye Hill
Master Gardeners
Future networks…

 

About the Master Gardener Programme
Partners & Funding
Programme ambitions
Growing tips

Article by Philip Turvil

Posted in Featured, News0 Comments

Garden Organic’s Master Gardener Programme wins national award

Garden Organic’s Master Gardener Programme wins national award

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.”

Find out more

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

Get in touch

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

Who’s who?

  • 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.

Read more Master Gardener news or get involved

More from Garden Organic

 

Posted in Featured, News0 Comments

Garden Organic’s Norfolk Master Composter scheme wins Gold in national environmental awards

Garden Organic’s Norfolk Master Composter scheme wins Gold in national environmental awards

Getting their hands dirty – and encouraging others to do the same – has paid off handsomely for Garden Organic’s Norfolk Master Composters with a national environmental award for their work.

The Green Apple Awards, which honour environmental best practice across the UK, has given its Gold award to Garden Organic and Norfolk County Council Partnership of Master Composters for helping to stop thousands of tonnes of waste from being landfilled. Representatives from the Master Composter scheme were on hand to pick up their Golden Green Apple at an awards ceremony in the Houses of Parliament, London.

Jane Griffiths, Garden Organic’s Volunteer Mentor Networks Manager said:

“It’s wonderful for the Norfolk Master Composter scheme to receive a national award for its work.

“The hard work of David Hawkyard, the Norfolk Master Composter Co-ordinator, the Master Composter Volunteers and others involved in the Master Composter scheme deserves recognition as they do an incredible job in delivering advice and training about home composting.

“They are at the forefront of delivering this important environmental message and it makes us very proud for the scheme to be recognised in this way.”

Congratulating the winners, Norfolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Waste, David Harrison said:

“Home composting is a win-win for all of us. Gardeners turn their kitchen waste into a fantastic nutrient-rich product that boosts their horticultural efforts for free.

“The more people who compost at home the less waste we have to send to landfill. That helps improve our environment and save council taxpayers’ money by reducing our waste disposal costs.

“The Master Composters have been instrumental in contributing to this. I am really pleased that they have been given national recognition for their work. They thoroughly deserve it.”

The Master Composter scheme trains volunteers to promote the benefits of home composting and give practical advice to fellow residents about composting.

Since the scheme began in Norfolk in 2006, 190 Master Composters have been trained and together they have dedicated nearly 6,500 hours of their time to speak to 32,000 people at over 300 events across Norfolk.

The volunteers have also helped to support Norfolk County Council’s long-running home composting campaign, which has sold more than 89,000 composting bins to Norfolk residents since it started in 2002.

Master Composters have given advice and encouragement to home composters and together the campaigns are estimated to have stopped nearly 13,400 tonnes of waste being sent to landfill, saving hundreds of thousands of pounds.

People who are interested in becoming a Master Composter can find out more about the scheme by visiting http://www.homecomposting.org.uk .

Those who would like a composting demonstration or would like to speak to someone from the Norfolk Master Composter scheme should contact mastercomposters@norfolk.gov.uk or telephone 0344 800 8020

 

Notes to Editors:

For further information and media enquiries, please contact: Mark Mclachlan, Garden Organic Head of PR and Comms on 02476 217707 or at mmclachlan@gardenorganic.org.uk.

  • Garden Organic, the UK’s leading organic growing charity, has been at the forefront of the organic horticulture movement for 50 years. Dedicated to promoting organic gardening in homes, communities and schools, it uses innovation and inspiration to get more people growing in the most sustainable way.
  • Garden Organic’s charitable work delivers the organic growing message 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. To find out more visit http://www.gardenorganic.org.uk
  • The Master Composter Programme is an initiative where Garden Organic work with community volunteers to promote and support home composting.
  • Volunteers undertake a training programme in composting and issues surrounding organic waste management. They then carry out activities in their local community to raise awareness and participation in home composting.
  • The programme is carried out in partnership with local authorities. For further information about the programme go to http://www.homecomposting.org.uk

More news

More from Garden Organic

Posted in News0 Comments

Garden Organic’s National Volunteer Masters come together to celebrate growing people and plants

Garden Organic’s National Volunteer Masters come together to celebrate growing people and plants

Garden Organic has hosted its National Volunteer Masters Conference 2013 bringing together composting and growing mentors from across the UK to celebrate their achievements.

More than 215 Master Gardeners, Master Composters, Local Food Project Co-ordinatorsSeed Stewards and other likeminded volunteers attended Garden Organic’s Ryton Gardens site on September 28 for a day of activities to celebrate the work and achievements of the Masters Volunteers network.

A series of themed workshops took place across the day with subject areas including community composting, wildlife gardening, soil science and fruit growing advice.

Roger Key, Garden Organic’s Chair of Trustees, said

“For over a decade, Garden Organic has trained and supported volunteer mentors. This dedicated network of volunteers benefit communities across the country.

“The conference is a celebration of their achievement and an opportunity for us to acknowledge the dedication, inspiration and enthusiasm of the volunteers in delivering growing and composting activities into their communities and networks.”

Guest speaker Professor Chris Baines, a Garden Organic Ambassador and campaigner for urban nature conservation, provided an inspirational speech on the nature of the future highlighting the actions required now to protect our natural environment.

The National Volunteer Masters Awards Ceremony saw individual and group achievements across the Masters Volunteer Network recognised and rewarded within four key categories – Achievement Award, Master Award, Innovation and Social Media Award and Group Achievement Award. Read about the our 2013 award winners here.

Feedback from conference delegates

  • “Really well organised, brilliant venue, staff were so, so lovely”
  • “A very inspiring day! Shame it went so fast! See you next year.”
  •  “Really enjoyed it, meeting people, speakers, groups and Ryton is lovely.”
  • “Wonderful presentation from Chris Baines.”
  • “Quite intense – lots of information crammed in (but good)”
  • “I genuinely didn’t realise there were so many ‘Master Composter’ or similar projects around the country so it was really helpful to see the bigger picture.”

Wonderful group of lively volunteers gather at Ryton Gardens.

Inside the group photo!

Early morning calm before 215 guests!

Garden Organic’s head of programmes, Margi Lennartsson addresses the audience

Garden Organic’s chair of trustees, Roger Key thanks the volunteers

Garden Organic’s new chief executive, James Cambell meets volunteers over tea and cake

Organic gardening expert, Pauline Pears leads a training session with volunteers

Coffee cups become plant pots

Masters with hens…

Workshop led by Ryton head gardener, Andi

Cutting the official conference cake…!

Group photos

New ‘Hens@Home’ mentors trained by Garden Organic at the National Volunteers Masters Conference 2013

Volunteers and co-ordinators involved with Garden Organic’s Sowing New Seeds project in growing spaces around England

Co-ordinators from Local Food projects gathered for a special workshop with Master Gardener Programme manager Philip Turvil (far left) as part of a Shared Learning Exchange visit. Co-ordinators were joined by lots of their volunteers

 

Volunteer Master Gardeners offer food growing advice to local people and communities. The volunteers are fully trained and supported by Garden Organic, the UK’s leading organic growing charity.

This programme is funded by the Big Lottery Fund’s Local Food scheme, Public Health, Local Authorites and commercial firms in eight areas, Warwickshire, North London, South London, Norfolk, Medway, Lincolnshire, Somerset and HMP Rye Hill. For more information visit the Master Gardener website at http://mastergardeners.org.uk

The Master Composter Programme is an initiative where Garden Organic work with community volunteers to promote and support home composting. Volunteers undertake a training programme in composting and issues surrounding organic waste management.

They then carry out activities in their local community to raise awareness and participation in home composting. The programme is carried out in collaboration with local authorities and WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme). For further information about the programme go to http://www.gardenorganic.org.uk/composting/mastercomposter.php

Read more news from the Master Gardener Programme

Read more news from Garden Organic

Posted in Featured, News0 Comments

Garden Organic’s Ryton Gardens to undergo redevelopment to create new education and resource centre

Garden Organic’s Ryton Gardens to undergo redevelopment to create new education and resource centre

Garden Organic’s Ryton Gardens is to undergo a site redevelopment as part of a plan to create a new education and resource centre.

During the winter months the shop and café will be replaced by a new Garden Organic education and resource centre. Parts of the ten acre gardens will be redesigned to create a more interactive and educational experience that showcases the latest organic gardening ideas and techniques and the charity’s programmes work.

The new Garden Organic education and resource centre will open in March 2014 to the public, Garden Organic members and visiting organisations such as schools and community groups. A new public entrance area for the Vegetable Kingdom and Gardens will see Garden Organic staff on hand to provide advice, assistance and literature about the charity.

A members area will be created alongside a library stocked with extensive archive materials and books for people to use to research and educate themselves about organic gardening. There will also be displays about Garden Organic’s work and the chance to see organic gardening demonstrations and experiments in the gardens.

Roger Key, Garden Organic’s Chairman of Trustees, said:

“The Council of Trustees has taken the decision to concentrate on the core objectives of the charity and return to the basics around teaching people to grow organically. This will be achieved by redesigning our demonstration gardens and improving our ability to inspire and educate people of all ages.

“The redesigned gardens will provide a unique opportunity for people to feel involved and connected to our work, while they learn new techniques and methods about organic gardening.

“The redevelopment of the site marks an exciting new chapter in the history of Garden Organic. By taking the charity back to its core roots, it will allow us to grow stronger as an organisation as we concentrate our efforts on education and showcasing the importance of organic growing ideas and methods.”

The new site layout will also provide space for schools to use as a classroom and picnic area. An exhibition space will also be available to showcase Garden Organic work, that of partner organisations and local artists and groups.

The annual schedule of events offered by Garden Organic will be reviewed as part of the redevelopment plans and an announcement about the future of events will take place in 2014. Garden Organic’s popular Apple Day will go ahead on October 12 as planned with a full schedule of activities.

The gardens will remain open during the autumn/winter months, with free entry to the gardens during this period. However, there will be some small changes to the opening hours of the gardens.

From 31 October 2013, the gardens will open Monday to Saturday but will close on Sunday. These new opening times will remain in place during the autumn/winter months and will be reviewed in Spring 2014.

More news from Garden Organic

News from Master Gardener Programme

 

Posted in Featured, News0 Comments

NOMINATE TODAY – Master Gardeners making a difference

NOMINATE TODAY – Master Gardeners making a difference

National charity, Garden Organic would like to hear from you about exceptional volunteers that help people benefit from growing their own food.

The national awards will recognise the achievements of individual Master Gardeners and whole groups of these enthusiastic growing mentors.

The finalists and winners will be announced at  Garden Organic’s National Volunteer Masters conference on 28 September 2013 at Ryton Gardens, Coventry.

Nominate today

If you’re a volunteer co-ordinator, a volunteer, a mentored family, school or community group, please nominate the person that you feel makes a difference.

Click here to download the simple nomination form for 2013 awards.

Any supporting photos and press cuttings are welcomed.
If you have problems with the form, click here to contact co-ordinator Kate Newman.

Please return completed forms to Garden Organic by 9am, Monday 16 September 2013 (contact details on form).

Award categories

There are three categories which recognise volunteers who have gone beyond the call of duty and made outstanding contributions to the campaigns to promote composting or gardening in the UK. There is also an individual award, which could encompass both composting and gardening.

Achievement Award This award will be given to an individual volunteer who has gone beyond expectation in his/her promotional activities, either due to the amount of time or effort that they have devoted to their volunteering or the exceptional results that they have achieved.
Group Achievement Award This award will be given to a group of volunteers that have shown how the whole can be more than the sum of its parts by forming an effective and cohesive group, which has helped to either improve the efficiency of a scheme or had a particularly significant impact locally.
Innovation and Social Media Award This award will recognise innovation and use of social media by either an individual or a group within a gardening or compost volunteer mentor scheme. Innovative ideas come in many forms, but the judges will look particularly favourably upon those ideas that have the potential to be replicated across other schemes.
Master Award This award will recognise exceptional achievement by a volunteer – supporting their local programme or simply acting as an inspiration to others through their efforts in their scheme. Someone who has already been nominated for the Achievement Award can also be put forward for this award.

 

Nominate today

Click here to download the simple nomination form for 2013 awards

Please return completed forms to Garden Organic by 9am, Monday 16 September 2013 (contact details on form).

Read more

2012 Awards finalist and winners

Book a place at the 2013 National Volunteer Masters conference

News – Garden Organic’s Master Gardener programme nominated for national award

Conference cake follow awards at Ryton Gardens, Coventry

More news and case studies

Posted in News0 Comments

Spotlight on Master Gardeners as Local Food audit Garden Organic

Spotlight on Master Gardeners as Local Food audit Garden Organic

Grant officers from Local Food visited Garden Organic’s Ryton Gardens on the 14 August 2013 to audit the Master Gardener Programme.

This was a wonderful opportunity to look back, and look ahead since Local Food funded the pilot Master Gardener networks in spring 2010.

Hundreds of volunteer ‘Master Gardeners’ have now helped 50,000 people benefit from growing food in Warwickshire, Norfolk, North London and South London.

This pilot is one of Local Food’s ‘Beacon’ projects; part of their £59.8m scheme to distributes grants from the Big Lottery Fund to projects helping to make locally grown food accessible and affordable to communities.

Admiring local food

What happened during the audit?

Senior grants officer, Maria Marsden and grants administrator, Janet Lambert, met with Master Gardener Programme manager Philip Turvil and Warwickshire Master Gardener co-ordinator, Kate Newman.

Then lively Master Gardeners Stella, Keith, John, and Sandy kindly joined us for lunch to share their enthusiasm for the volunteer role and its impact on them and the people they mentor.

  • We looked back – how the Master Gardener Programme has evolved with feedback from our lovely volunteers and expert team of co-ordinators.
  • We looked at the now – celebrating and challenging methods for volunteer recruitment, training, support,  monitoring, and resource.
  • We looked to the future – discussing final grant allocations and plans to expand the Local Food networks and commissioned networks in Lincolnshire, Medway, Somerset, and HMP Rye Hill.

Senior grants officer, Maria Marsden said

“I was genuinely impressed with the time and investment spent on training your Master Gardeners and it obviously pays off as every Master Gardener I have met to date seems really passionate about what they do and happy in their role

“…the whole day made me confident that the Master Gardener Programme was Local Food money well spent!”

Master Gardener Programme manager Philip Turvil said

“The team at Local Food believe in their funded projects. This is invaluable.

“They have provided consistent support and confidence for Garden Organic to deliver the Master Gardener Programme with enthusiastic volunteers. This extends from the pilot Beacon funding to the additional grants to develop community impact and future commissions. Thank you.”

Adventurous crops: Lab Lab beans at Ryton Gardens

Adding new seeds

Grants officer, Cate Brimblecombe-Clark also visited Anton Rosenfeld and Sally Cunningham at Garden Organic to audit the Local Food funded ‘Sowing New Seeds’ project.

This project has enabled allotment holders, schools and community groups in the Midlands to grow exotic crops not traditionally grown in the UK. An excellent innovation that is busy expanding.

Read more about the Sowing New Seeds project here

 

L to R: Philip Turvil, Sally Cunningham, Janet Lambert, Maria Marsden, Cate Brimblecombe-Clark, Sandy Young, Stella Stroud, Keith Wellsted, Kate Newman, Francis Rayns, Anton Rosenfeld, John Young

More news

Lights, camera, GROW! Master Gardeners filmed for Local Food award video

Garden Organic’s Master Gardener programme nominated for national award

Read more news

Read more about our future

Article by Philip Turvil

 

Posted in Featured, News0 Comments

Lights, camera, GROW! Master Gardeners filmed for Local Food award video

Lights, camera, GROW! Master Gardeners filmed for Local Food award video

We were caught on film on Thursday 1 August at Ryton Gardens where Master Gardeners shared their views on the Garden Organic network of growing mentors.

The filming comes after the Master Gardener Programme was shortlisted for a national award.

We’ll compete against two other projects from England for the chance to be named winners of the Education and Learning category in the Local Food Recognition Awards 2013. Read more here.

Lights, camera, GROW!

We answered intriguing questions on film to impress the judging panel (we hope) and for broadcast at Local Food’s award ceremony on the 20 November 2013.

Our favourite questions

  1. Tell us what is outstanding about your project
  2. Tell us why you think your project should win this particular award for Education & Learning
  3. Give us an example of how this project has had an outstanding impact and/or changed the lives of the people in the community it serves
  4. Do you have any particular message for the External Judging Panel?

Filming break

Thank you to our Master Gardeners Alice, Anastasia, John, Sandy and Vicki.

Each bravely stood in the spotlight to share stories of how being a volunteer has made a difference to the people they mentor to grow food, and had an impact on them.

Read about Master Gardener impact.

Thanks to Rick and Pete from the creative media agency, Fresh Cut.

Great ideas and enthusiasm. Click here to see their films

And thanks Maria and Mark from Local Food

The £59.8m scheme that distributes grants from the Big Lottery Fund to projects helping to make locally grown food accessible and affordable to communities. Click here for more.

 

Our youngest Master Gardener, Anastasia shares her experience. Her mother (and fellow MG) Alice are transforming local food in their village.

Master Gardener, John doing what he does best; talking about growing food with his trademark enthusiasm.

Queen of the paperpots, Sandy – MG extraordinaire, explains how she support schools to be excited by growing

A new talent in the Master Gardener network, Vicki is determined that everyone can grow food! Even the film crew had a personal introduction to blackcurrants and other veg…

Master Gardener Programme manager, Philip Turvil representing the 475 Garden Organic volunteers that have dedicated over 18,000 hours to help local people grow their own food. Lots to say!

Film-maker Rick captures the Master Gardeners chatting! No ‘director’ is necessary as fruit and veg discussion is abundant

 

Back to news

Read case studies

Find your nearest Master Gardener

Find out about the UK’s leading organic growing charity, Garden Organic

Read how the Master Gardener programme was nominated for a national award

 

Article by Philip Turvil

 

Posted in Featured, News0 Comments

Garden Organic’s Master Gardener programme nominated for national award

Garden Organic’s Master Gardener programme nominated for national award

Garden Organic’s Master Gardener Programme has been shortlisted for a national award.

The Master Gardener Programme, run by the charity Garden Organic, will compete against two other projects from across England for the chance to be named winners of the Education and Learning category in the Local Food Recognition Awards 2013. The awards are organised by Local Food, a £59.8m scheme that distributes grants from the Big Lottery Fund to projects helping to make locally grown food accessible and affordable to communities

Since 2009, the Master Gardener project has received £674,254 in 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. The Local Food Recognition 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.

Philip Turvil, Master Gardener Programme Manager, said: “Garden Organic’s Master Gardeners have wide-reaching benefits beyond growing food. It’s also about lifestyle, community and improving the environment.

“We don’t want to just teach our Master Gardener volunteers the best way of growing a lettuce for lunch. We want to teach 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.

“By working with volunteers in their communities, we’re showing that the initial challenges of growing your own food can be overcome. So if that first crop ends up slug eaten, rather than feel demoralised, people look for advice and support instead of giving up.”

Mark Wheddon, Local Food Programme Manager, said: “The Local Food Recognition Awards seek to celebrate the most outstanding community projects delivered with the help of Local Food funding.

“All our projects have made a positive and lasting impact in the communities in which they are based, helping local people in all manner of different ways to access, grow, prepare and understand the benefits of fresh, healthy food, so to be shortlisted for an Award is a tremendous achievement. Many Local Food projects have gone beyond the original aims of the programme and are having much wider impacts in their communities, so our judges have a difficult but exciting task ahead in choosing the winners.”

All 500 Local Food projects were invited to enter the Awards in 4 categories – Small Grants, Community Food Growing, Education and Learning, and Enterprise. Shortlisted projects will be judged by an external panel in September, and the winners in each category will be unveiled in November at an event at The Lowry in Manchester. – ends -

For further information, please contact:

Philip Turvil, Master Gardener Programme Manager: Email here

Lorraine Mullally, PR and Communications Manager, Local Food: 01636 670105 / lmullally@rswt.org

Notes for Editors:

Garden Organic (http://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 (http://www.mastergardeners.org.uk) offer food growing advice to local people and communities. The volunteers are fully trained and supported by Garden Organic, the UK’s leading organic growing charity.

This three-year pilot programme is funded by the Big Lottery Fund’s Local Food scheme, Sheepdrove Trust and local authorities in four areas: Warwickshire, Islington, South London and Norfolk. Garden Organic aim to develop and sustain these programme areas more nationally to follow the success of Garden Organic’s Master Composter network.

Local Food (http://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 (http://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.

Back to news

Read Case studies

Advice and support growing food

Posted in Featured, News0 Comments

Record number of volunteer Master Gardeners helping people grow food

Record number of volunteer Master Gardeners helping people grow food

We’re delighted to welcome 144 new volunteer growing mentors after eight training weekends in spring 2013.

The co-ordination team at the national charity, Garden Organic carefully recruited enthusiastic Master Gardeners with an urge to share their food growing experience with local people and communities.

We now have seven mentor networks around the UK with hundreds of city and rural volunteers offering free advice and support for individuals, families, groups, and shared growing spaces.

What happens on a Master Gardener induction training weekend for new volunteers?

Please click on each network below for photos and stories from spring 2013.

Somerset’s first Master Gardeners trained, March 2013 Coventry’s first Master Gardeners, March 2013 New Norfolk Master Gardeners, April 2013
New South London Master Gardeners, April 2013 New Coventy & Warwickshire Master Gardeners, April 2013 Medway’s first Master Gardeners, May 2013
New North London Master Gardeners, May 2013 New Lincolnshire Master Gardeners, June 2013  Visit our Gallery of Masters

 

Grow fruit and veg

Get in touch with us today if you would like to start growing your own food or grow more, from a lettuce on a balcony, to harvest festivals from raised beds in school grounds.

Find your nearest Master Gardener

We don’t just teach our Master Gardeners the best way of growing, but teach them how to pass this information on to others in their community – to share their passion and experience so that everyone is learning from each other and feeling the benefits.

Garden Organic is showing that the initial challenges of growing your own food can be overcome. So if that first crop ends up slug eaten, rather than feel demoralised, people look for advice and support instead of giving up.

Read about the benefits of the Master Gardener Programme to volunteers and their mentees

Master Gardeners on the move

 

Not in your area?

  • Find nearby Garden Organic Master Composters.
  • Help us launch new Master Gardener networks in partnerships with local funding organisations with a health, social and/or environmental remit. Please click here for an overview.
  • Join Garden Organic – the UK’s leading organic growing charity, offering membership benefits and links with local groups

Did you know?

 

Article by Philip Turvil

Posted in Featured, News0 Comments

Page 1 of 712345...Last »

Sign up for email updates

  • Getting exotic with green manures Posted on 15 April 2014
    Alumni Master Gardener Mike Wohl shares his first green manure experience. ”I feel SO good because I actually got round to doing green manure this winter. Although I knew abo...
  • The Scoop on Soil…Grow Clyde Road Posted on 11 April 2014
    On Weds, in the dappled sunshine, with the help of some Master Gardener volunteers and a couple of keen residents we got stuck into preparing the two community plots on the Clyde R...
  • Vegetables have families too! Latest from Grow Clyde Road Posted on 3 April 2014
    Yesterday in the milder weather we got stuck in after having a bit of fun getting into the garage. A couple of residents came along and we looked at vegetable families, specificall...
  • An introduction to plants and the magic behind them – Grow Clyde Road Posted on 1 April 2014
    On Wednesday we braved the cold weather at our new base in Fairweather Close on the Clyde Road Estate. You may not realise it’s now officially Spring as this week has been especi...
  • Taster Workshop – Grow Clyde Road Posted on 13 March 2014
    Yesterday afternoon, in the glorious sunshine outside Elizabeth Clyde Close, we ran a taster workshop in tandem with the Peabody Trust’s neighbourhood charter event. It was wonde...
  • South London Master Gardeners – 6000 hours of local advice and support growing food Posted on 25 February 2014
    We’ve had an excellent run under the Local Food funding. We’ve reached Yr 5, Quarter 2 of our programme. There was 3 year’s funding initially, and that was extended by 18...
  • Fiona Law Posted on 19 February 2014
    As the programme comes to a pause I thought I’d do a final case study on myself, before I move on. I’ve been involved in the South London Master Gardener programme sinc...
  • Extra Training Day – February Posted on 12 February 2014
    It was a most convivial and cheery gathering of the South London Master Gardeners, but just a little poignant. This was the last of the meetings under our Local Food funding. No ma...
  • Seed Swap and Growing advice Extravaganza at Crystal Palace Posted on 12 February 2014
    Lots of lovely interaction took place on 8th Feb – a wonderful kick start to the growing season of 2014! And in an otherwise blustery and hailing day, we enjoyed a couple of ...
  • Master Gardeners – with distinction Posted on 12 February 2014
    13 of our April 2013 cohort of MGs have been awarded the status of Master Gardener with Distiction. They’ve successfully supported communities to grow their own food, and met...
  • Jun 8th: Watton Carnival Pumpkin Parade Posted on 14 April 2014
    Watton is the place to be on Sunday, 8 June. The annual Watton Carnival will have the town buzzing. Lots to do, see and enjoy. Come and say hello to Breckland Master Gardeners on t...
  • Free plant feed! Posted on 11 April 2014
    We all want to grow the best plants possible and that takes more than weeding and tender care. You need to make sure that your crop plants receive the best nutrients, so they can r...
  • Apr 21st: Easy steps to fruit and veg growing Posted on 11 April 2014
    For those who have been inspired by the wonderful Wretham Lodge gardens and aspire to growing their own fruit and veg. A chance to meet Norfolk Master Gardeners and find out first ...
  • Breckland Council get seed-sowing Posted on 10 April 2014
    Breckland Master Gardeners Leigh and Keith hosted the first workshop of the new staff vegetable garden at Breckland Council offices in Dereham this week. Pots, peat-free potting co...
  • Blackcurrants Posted on 10 April 2014
    Yes they are a super food, even better than blueberries, if a triathlete magazine I was reading is correct, with an extremely high level of vitamin C.  What’s more, they are...
  • The Lincolnshire programme – how it works! Posted on 18 March 2014
    This video has been commissioned by Lincolnshire County Council Public Health to help celebrate the achievements of the Lincolnshire Master Gardener network in their effort to enco...
  • Time Travelling with a new Quince Tree Posted on 27 January 2014
    A blur of green and yellow reflects across the kitchen window and I turn to see a delivery lorry pulling up outside. The bewildered looking driver carries a peculiar package up the...
  • Cock O’ The Walk Posted on 14 January 2014
    I’m a full time mum who runs a small business from home while the kids are at school, so I’m well used to spending a lot of time on my own. However, the one place I am never al...
  • Autumn Harvest Celebration Posted on 27 November 2013
    40 people arrived on a brisk November morning to the New Life Conference Centre in Lincoln, to be treated to a fun and informative day in the county capital. We were pleased to hav...
  • Garden Organic’s Master Gardener Programme wins national award Posted on 26 November 2013
    Video with volunteer Master Gardeners Garden Organic’s Master Gardener Programme is celebrating success after scooping the prestigious national ‘Education and Learning’ award...
  • 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...
  • 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