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Lincolnshire Master Gardeners at Big Boston Festival

Lincolnshire Master Gardeners at Big Boston Festival

I was asked to make some creative interventions for the BBG festival site for the weekend of 4/5 July and also provide some activities on the day….I asked MG Tracy of Boston if she’d like to join our marquee for the Saturday; so pleased she was able to make it.

Here she is enthusing about recycling, organic gardening and Lincolnshire Master Gardeners. We had a great time, met lots of lovely people and listened to some amazing bands.

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Lincolnshire Show 2015

Lincolnshire Show 2015

Hundreds of people came to see the Lincolnshire Master Gardener stall which was within the Lincolnshire County Council stand with other services from Public Health.

I, along with two West Lindsey volunteers, Steven and Annabelle, had a great time talking to people from all walks of life, made over 200 pots with people of all ages and from all backgrounds, helping them ‘Give it a Grow’ with confidence.

The interest in the programme was immense, with people from Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and North Lincolnshire sadly disappointed to find out that we don’t offer support in those areas – yet!

The two days went well with questions about tomatoes, space and time saving tips as well as the health benefits of growing you own.

It was really nice to meet an ex-manager of a homeless shelter we used to support and hear her kind words about the positive impact the programme had on her service users. That is what makes this programme special.

And the weather was nice this year too!

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Lincolnshire Show 2015 – getting ready!

Lincolnshire Show 2015 – getting ready!

We’re getting ready – we’ve made 77 paper pots and put some Heritage Seed Library seeds in them – Why? I hear you ask – well, time will tell…

Are you going this year?

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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

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


Master Gardeners
Master Gardeners
Coventry & Warwickshire
Master Gardeners


Master Gardeners
HMP Rye Hill
Master Gardeners
Future networks…


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

Article by Philip Turvil

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Meet Phil from Norfolk who is a North London Master Gardener

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Lincolnshire Show 2014

Lincolnshire Show 2014

Lincolnshire Master Gardeners had a great time talking about growing to the many visitors to this years show.

We were delighted to be invited to have a stand in the Lincolnshire County Council Public Health tent, showing the fantastic range of public health services on offer in the county. We were also lucky to share the stand with enthusiastic Lincoln community garden volunteers from Green Synergy.

Across the two busy days we spoke to hundreds of people about the joys and health benefits of growing your own, answering questions from people thinking of starting, new growers and experienced gardeners. We were asked about composting, pests – slugs mainly! – and diseases, with lots of questions about fruit trees.

Master Gardeners entertained and informed many people over the two days with an Identify the Seeds test featuring pumpkin, broad bean, cabbage and carrot seeds – the latter two causing the most confusion! Green Synergy excelled at promoting the community growing projects in Lincoln city whilst encouraging people to take home grass heads that the public made at the stand.

The outside growing space created in collaboration with Green Synergy demonstrated what could be achieved in a small space on a small budget, ideal for a post-modern interpretation of the Council’s Dig for Victory theme!

It was encouraging to hear how many people are growing their own food, and for a whole host of reasons – health, wealth and happiness being the major themes. The feedback to the programmes aims and the Council funding was really positive with everyone we spoke to.

Master Gardener Hannah talks people through the Identify the Seeds test!

Master Gardeners Steve and Hannah talked a continuous stream of interested people

Advice – what we do best

Steve talking with people taking a rest at our little garden!


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South Holland Free Community Cooking Classes

South Holland Free Community Cooking Classes

Last chance to sign up for a free six week healthy cooking course starting on Friday the 6th June to 18th July.

The course will run on Fridays from 10am until 12 noon in Spalding.

Please book now to avoid disappointment

The course will cover – seafood, pasta dishes and recipies low in sugar – as well as lots more!

Contact or tel. 01775 761161

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The Lincolnshire programme – how it works!

The Lincolnshire programme – how it works!

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 encourage more people to grow their own, and eat more, fresh food.

Supporting over 700* new food growers across Lincolnshire, volunteers such as Alison offer both practical and theoretical food growing advice to families, individuals and groups as represented by Nicola and her family.

If you would like 12 months free support and advice in growing food click here

April 5/6th – latest induction of new volunteers – register now by clicking here!

*Dec 2013

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Autumn Harvest Celebration

Autumn Harvest Celebration

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 have welcomed a record number of Master Gardeners attending their quarterly training event, bringing with them partners and households as plus ones.  Members of Lincolnshire County Council Public Health team also attended, as well as representatives from two local food growing initiatives, demonstrating the strength of the network in its third year.

Thanks for organising a great day yesterday, and our +1s really enjoyed the day too! ☺ – Heidi Haxeltine, Master Gardener

After a brief introduction and welcome by co-ordinator Rick Aron, Master Gardener David Newman stepped up to the fold to deliver a very entertaining and informative session that examined the life of a seed from the inside out! Dave helped the group to gently and carefully take a bean seed apart to reveal and explain the inner workings of a seed. It struck a lot of the people attending that they had used seeds for growing vegetables for a long time, without actually knowing what keeps them alive in the packet.

Master Gardener Julie takes apart a bean

After some lovely coffee fueled conversations in the break, Rick then introduced the next speakers, Pete and Sean from Green Futures in North East Lincolnshire and Mary from Lincoln-based Green Synergy. Pete and Sean outlined the work that Green Futures has done, is doing and where the organisation wants to go next. Mary outlined the plan the Green Synergy is in the process of rolling out, whilst supporting local growing enterprises.

Garden Organic present Green Synergy and Green Future some Bocking 14 Comfrey as a token of our appreciation of their community work – Mary Whiting, Rick Aron, Sean Atkinson, Pete Allen

All three faced a wide range of questions from a very impressed audience and the feedback after the event has been wholly positive about the two organisations.

Lunch was provided by the venue, which very kindly catered to our request of local foods. They also catered for our ‘bring your own chutney’ request by providing very fine local cheeses. The food was so good that little was left, however the New Life Centre were kind enough to allow us to arrange the extra food was donated to the Lincoln YMCA.

Our plans had to change after lunch as one of our guest speakers sadly couldn’t attend.

Pete and Sean from Green Futures kindly agreed to field an extended question and answer session, proving the interest in their fantastic enterprise, one that North East Lincolnshire is lucky to have.

Heidi, a Master Gardener from Stamford, was looking forward to the wildlife gardening talk that was meant to happen. We asked the group to think of something the did (or wished they did!) to help the wildlife in their garden. The results of our talk will be put on the site next week.

After yet more fine coffee – talking about gardening is tiring! – Master Gardener Sharon Smith, a qualified nutritionist, took us through the role of the nutrients, from the soil, into the plants and finally into us, teaching us that we are but compost. But in a good way. Sharon demonstrated the nutritional need for fresh food by way of an interactive diagram on a flip-board, showing where each component of food – calcium, nitrogen etc – is needed by the body. See the image below for the results.

We would like to thank everyone who came, everyone who brought chutney, our funding partners who came along and contributed and the New Life Centre for being such excellent hosts.



Hello Rick, just to say thanks for great day out on Saturday. I really enjoyed everything about the day, meeting up with other like minded people and having a bit of banter, it was good to see what growing your own stuff can lead to, a more sustainable future for all of us – Paul Collingwood, local allotment secretary

Thank you so much for another fun-packed day – as usual, learnt loads and came home inspired – Hilary Bower, Master Gardener

Thanks for a super day on Saturday – very happy to have some bocking 14! – Laura Stratford, Transition Town Lincoln

Blog post about the day by a Master Gardener:
Brilliant Autumn Harvest celebration in Lincoln!

Maggie, a Stamford Master Gardener, has asked me to pop up some chutney recipes that she and other Master Gardeners use. Please keep checking over the next few weeks for a new chutney recipe! First up in South Holland Master Gardener Jane Broome with her Green Tomato Chutney.



A dissected bean seed

Mary from Green Synergy talks to the group

Soil, vegetables and humans – all the same really!

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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.”

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

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 ( 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 ( 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
    ( 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


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