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Master Composter competition to celebrate compost…

Master Composter competition to celebrate compost…

An opportunity to show off your creative talents and your passion for composting

Homemade compost is great for the garden and diverts tonnes of food waste from landfill. Now Garden Organic is calling for people to put their passion for compost on paper for its poster competition to urge more of us to make our own for Compost Awareness Week Saturday 1 – 7 May 2011.

Open to everyone, children and adults, the Garden Organic ‘Celebrate Compost’ poster competition will raise awareness and celebrate everything there is to know about the lovely, crumbly brown stuff.

Garden Organic’s, Jane Griffiths, said, “Our network of Master Composters promote home compost at every opportunity and it was one of them, Rodney Weston, that came up with the ‘Celebrate Compost’ idea. With this competition we want to see people’s inventive, creative and eye-catching ideas for promoting compost and we also want to see entries that can help other people understand the importance of home composting for the environment, and for our gardens.”

The competition winner can look forward to an exciting eco prize and the winning ‘Celebrate Compost’ poster will also be displayed on the Garden Organic, Community Composting Network and Recycle Now website during Compost Awareness Week 1 – 7 May 2011. Garden Organic’s network of over 500 Master Composters will also use the poster design at community events.

To enter please obtain an entry form from fflp@gardenorganic.org.uk, from the Garden Organic website: http://www.gardenorganic.org.uk, or write to ‘Celebrate Compost’ Competition’, Ryton Gardens, Wolston Lane, Warwickshire, CV8 3LG. Closing date for entries is 28 February 2011. The winner will be announced on the Garden Organic website on Monday 21 of March 2011.

Click here to find out more about Master Composters – a sister programme to Master Gardeners

Master Gardener competition to suggest? Please get in touch here

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Master Gardeners help 10,000 people since May 2010

Master Gardeners help 10,000 people since May 2010

Over 140 passionate volunteers are helping their communities grow local food, passing on skills and enthusiasm.

Every food growing conversation counts – at events, talks, stalls, and other innovate routes.

We’re as proud of over 350 mentored households receiving regular advice from Master Gardeners, whether for home, office windowsill, allotment or community garden.

It’s very exciting. Please read the highlights below.

Click to read report highlights…

  1. Warwickshire residents grow their own
  2. Another 700 people growing their own in Islington
  3. It’s green-thumbs up for Master Gardeners in south London
  4. 850 people engaged by Norfolk Master Gardeners in three months

Half way through:
Thank you as Master Gardeners speak to 5000 people (report from Autumn 2010)

Just the numbers

Local websites have maps with Master Gardener and event locations

144 volunteers recruited, trained and supported
(nearly 95% retention)

366 households mentored to grow food by volunteers
(with 850 residents; one third under 16)

8760 people spoken to about food growing
(includes 124 community events)

Inspiring stories behind the numbers

Click for Warwickshire, Islington, South London, and Norfolk

Click here for summary case study…

What’s next

Master Gardeners in action

  1. Recruit brand new volunteers in programme areas
  2. Deliver extra training with topics requested by existing Master Gardeners
  3. Look for new households to mentor and dates for community outreach
  4. Continue our one-to-one volunteer support and improve the programme – please contact with ideas

We’re looking to start Master Gardener programmes in your area with new local partners and funders, tailored to local needs. Please read our future areas page.

With thanks

Philip Turvil, on behalf of the Master Gardener team

Posted in Featured, News1 Comment

Birth of December

Birth of December

The new month marks the end of another exciting quarter for the Master Gardener programme. And my, what a great Autumn.

We’re thoroughly grateful for all the hours, imagination and enthusiasm of our volunteers spreading the food growing message.

Our enthusiastic team of volunteer co-ordinators are out and about gathering the last of the reported activities from September, October and November 2010. And every conversation counts. From helping individuals, couples and families to grow food on their windowsill or at community gardens, to events, talks, articles and workplace growing, everything is marvellous.

Proud Master Gardener Denise... click image to see photos of all our Master Gardeners!

Proud Master Gardener Denise... click image to see photos of all our Master Gardeners!

We want to hear tales from Master gardeners and the people they chat to about growing their own food.

Have a story?

Have a story?

Have a story to tell – please contact us
Click for Warwickshire programme
Click for Islington programme
Click for south London programme
Click for Norfolk programme

Read how Master Gardeners help local people and communities grow their own food

Posted in Featured, News0 Comments

Master Gardener training promotes winter food growing

Master Gardener training promotes winter food growing

Volunteers gathered in November for three extra training days in Islington, south London and Warwickshire.

Master Gardeners swapped ideas for helping communities grow their own food during the colder months, leaving with top-tips and fresh supply of seasonal seeds to help out their mentored individuals, couples and families. Ideas included seeds sprouts and garlic. Download more ideas here.

Master Gardeners also chatted about watering techniques and ways of managing different soil types with expert Anton from Garden Organic. The next training days are in February and include more workshops on topics requested by our volunteers.

Read the local stories from:

Click here for more winter growing tips

Read more news from the Master Gardener programme

Considering soil - Master Gardeners gather around the freshly dug pit - the official pointing stick in action looking at each soil level

Considering soil - Master Gardeners gather around the freshly dug pit - the official pointing stick in action looking at each soil level

Master Gardener Jessica ponders phosphorous deficiency in cabbage

Master Gardener Jessica ponders phosphorous deficiency in cabbage

Master Gardeners Nick and Fiona play with sponges to illustrate water locked away in soil

Master Gardeners Nick and Fiona play with sponges to illustrate water locked away in soil

Posted in Featured, News0 Comments

NEWS…. Gardening ‘Masters’ make their mark

NEWS…. Gardening ‘Masters’ make their mark

Master Gardener Marie in action

Master Gardener Marie in action

A leading charity’s unique project to support people to grow their own food has reached out to over 5,000 residents across four local authorities, recruited over 200 households and offered expert advice at over 70 community events within just 5 months of launching.

Master Gardeners – a project from organic growing charity Garden Organic – offers practical food growing advice to communities under the supervision of a dedicated Master Gardener mentor. Reaching out to thousands of individuals the project aims to build local skills, encourage organic growing and provide access to fresh, home-grown fruit and veg.

Master Gardeners Nicholas and Fiona with Jakes trays of lettuces at Streatham Festival

Master Gardeners Nicholas and Fiona with Jake's trays of lettuces at Streatham Festival

Under the scheme mentors are trained by Garden Organic and then supported by the charity to help local people grow their own. Project Manager, Philip Turvil, said, “The Master Gardener scheme has been developed in response to an increasing interest in food growing, the need to grow more sustainable food and to address a national shortage of grow your own skills.”

“The scheme works by offering individuals and communities expertise, practical advice and mentoring. The idea is to enthuse people about food growing whilst offering the support that they need along the journey.”

For example

One such individual to benefit from the mentoring is Gillian Pratt, from Warwickshire, whose Master Gardener mentor, Ted Hatwood has supported her growing efforts this year. Gillian said, “I had wanted to try my hand at growing vegetables for some time, but the first time I did I had such poor results that I was reluctant to do it again. I heard about the Master Gardeners in my area and now, thanks to Ted’s experience and advice, I’ve successfully grown hanging baskets of cherry tomatoes and a crop of potatoes and plan to think big for the next growing season based on this year’s success!”

Warwickshire Master Gardener Lesley shows her mentored households around the allotment garden at Ryton Gardens, Garden Organic

Warwickshire Master Gardener Lesley shows her mentored households around the allotment garden at Ryton Gardens, Garden Organic

And, according to Philip Turvil this is why the scheme works, “Because Master Gardeners can give hands-on support, meaning people are more likely to persevere and see successful results with their growing efforts.”

Funded by the Big Lottery Fund’s Local Food scheme, the Sheepdrove Trust and local authorities, the project is presently being piloted in Warwickshire, Islington, South London and Norfolk. With the aim to develop further programme areas as funding opportunities become available. So far the scheme has helped all sorts of householders from those living on inner-city estates with little or no growing experience, to those with garden space for veg patches, with a breadth of ages taking the plunge to grow their own.

And the project has even further reaching benefits – by taking the sustainable food growing message into communities it benefits households by improving gardening skills, increasing access to organic produce, while also promoting the environmental benefits of growing food organically.

To find out more about the project or to find a Master Gardener near you please visit http://www.mastergardeners.org.uk or call Garden Organic on 024 76308210.

-ends-

For press enquiries contact Charlotte Corner on 02476 217707 or email at: ccorner@gardenorganic.org.uk

For more information about Master Gardeners, contact Philip Turvil on 02476 217718 or email here

Read case studies from:
Warwickshire, Islington, south London, Norfolk


Notes to editors

  • If you are interested in more case studies relating to the Master Gardener project, or stories with a local angle please get in touch.
  • 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. To find out more visit our website.
  • 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.
  • 2010 is the year of the charity’s new campaign One Pot Pledge® – to get 30,000 gardening newcomers to grow something edible and organic for the first time.
  • 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.

Posted in Featured, News0 Comments

Thank you: Master Gardeners speak to 5000 people

Thank you: Master Gardeners speak to 5000 people

Our volunteers have spoken to nearly 5000 local residents about growing their own food in Warwickshire, Islington and south London.

A huge THANK YOU to every Master Gardener for spreading the food growing message. They’ve also signed up nearly 200 households to regularly mentor for 12 months and supported over 70 community events/organisations. Every conversation counts.

Read case studies here: Warwickshire, Islington, South London

Master Gardeners in action

Master Gardeners in action

Just May to August…

Master Gardeners have clocked up an amazing 1,400 volunteer hours since we launched the first training courses at the end of April 2010.

However little or a lot, we’re proud and grateful for every effort by every Master Gardener. Each of our 100 volunteers has found their own ways of helping local people and communities grow food, fitting in volunteering around their busy lifestyles to reach their communities.

Master Gardener in action

Master Gardeners in action

We’ve thoroughly enjoyed hearing the latest news from volunteers via our website, or by phone, post, or in-person. Our co-ordinators are active locally to listen, support, and share coffee with volunteers. We’ve hosted extra training course in August and have more in November.

These achievements conclude the first year our this exciting pilot Master Gardener programme. The second year started September 2010 and already new hours, households and conversations are coming in.


Not resting…

This pilot programme is designed to get things working as well as possible and develop future areas. This follows are kind support of the Big Lottery Fund’s Local Food scheme, Sheepdrove Trust and local authorities.

So, our next stages are to continue developing every aspect of the programme and volunteer support. And we’ll be out and about recruiting more Master Gardeners in every programme area. See our local websites for the next training dates.

Please get in touch if you have any questions or suggestions

Thank you

Philip Turvil
Project Manager

New Norfolk volunteers
New Norfolk volunteers

All new in Norfolk – special mention

During September we also launched our Norfolk programme with 21 lovely new Master Gardeners.

They’re already active bunch, daisy-chaining together a number of budding growers and community sites. We’ll report shortly.

See the latest news here in the meantime.

Posted in Featured, News0 Comments

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

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

First meeting for Master Gardener steering group

First meeting for Master Gardener steering group

Garden Organic welcomed guests to our inaugural steering group on 26 May 2010.

The group looked around Garden Organics site. We hope to look around other programme areas at future meetings

The group looked around Garden Organic. We hope to go around other programme areas at future meetings

The new group will get together twice a year to help guide programme targets and ambitions.  It’s an exciting group. We’re delighted to have the opportunity to talk about success to date and plans, including publicity and monitoring.

We welcomed Hannah from Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse in Norfolk, Oliver from Edible Islington, and Martin from Warwickshire – as well as WRAP monitoring expert Sarah. We also had Garden Organic’s Margi, Kate and Philip.  Our thanks to all. And thanks in advance for future meeting and members.

Local groups

We’re also setting up groups in each programme area with local people, including Master Gardeners.  Watch out for news on our local sites in Warwickshire, Islington and south London.

Find out more about the programme

Start a local programme

Contact the team

Article by Philip Turvil

Posted in News0 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

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Photos on flickr