Award for Master Gardener Programme

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.”

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.”

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 during the Local Food Celebratory Event at The Lowry in Manchester.

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.

Posted: 
Wednesday, 27 November 2013