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Master Gardener scheme - spread the word or join in?

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default Master Gardener scheme - spread the word or join in?

Post by Compostwoman on 17th April 2011, 11:42 pm

I am a Master Gardener, a volunteer community gardening advisor with Garden Organic. I am working within the Warwickshire scheme ( yes, I know, I am not in Warwickshire! ) and am already mentoring 5 households and a Children Centre to help people grow their own food. This means they could be growing a pot of herbs on their window sill, or potatoes or other veg in a grow bag or pot on their patio or in their garden; it really does not matter. What matters is getting people to have a go at growing!


Volunteer Master Gardeners offer food growing advice to local people and communities. 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. We aim to develop and sustain these programme areas and more nationally to follow the success of Garden Organic's Master Composter network. Visit Master Gardener website


So..does your county have a similar scheme?


Last edited by Compostwoman on 18th April 2011, 1:19 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : To make the links clearer)

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default Re: Master Gardener scheme - spread the word or join in?

Post by Wilhelm Von Rhomboid on 18th April 2011, 7:54 am

So what is a Master Gardener, exactly? How does one become one? What are the qualifications required?

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default Re: Master Gardener scheme - spread the word or join in?

Post by Compostwoman on 18th April 2011, 1:16 pm

Links to the various information pages in the original post, Billy.

but basically you need to have been growing veg for a few years ( it varies a lot from person to person - you don't have to be expert!)

and have a passion to communicate how to grow stuff to members of the public to get them to "have a go" themselves.

Master Gardeners was inspired by the success of Garden Organic’s Master Composter Programme. This has over 500 volunteers nationally with twelve local authority partners.

Master Composters reported a surge of interest in food growing – as did Garden Organic through their research.

The public’s demand for allotments, advice, and support has now rocketed thanks to high profile campaigns, food and health concerns, community growing networks, and a changing society intent on learning how to grow their own local, organic produce.

The Master Gardener programme, like Master Composters, works by cascade learning – or train the trainer, where people benefit from each other’s knowledge and are influenced by those around them, such as friends, neighbours, family, and work colleagues.

This approach has been shown to trigger and support behavioural change – in our case, more own food growing.

The actual training given is 2 days of intensive stuff at GO Ryton ( or elsewhere if too far away) plus a lot of ongoing support, a copy of the Organic Gardening Encyclopedia is part of the training pack as are lots of seeds and a manual of useful stuff. The training assumes a reasonable level of growing experience - they don't teach the basics of seed sowing, for example. It was good fun and also I was impressed by the level of information covered during the 2 days.

You get to be one by going to the Garden Organic Master Gardener website (link in orginal post) and expressing an interest, if there is a posibility of a scheme starting up in your area they will get back to you with more info.

Hope this helps.

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default Re: Master Gardener scheme - spread the word or join in?

Post by mr_sfstk8d on 18th April 2011, 7:58 pm

They've something similar, also called Master Gardener, around here as well. It's a set of classes, a semester I think, given through the University's County Extension office. DW and MIL are wanting to sign up for sessions. I am too, but probably not same session. Cost being one consideration, and she'd probably think me an 4r$e what with all the questions I ask in classes, lol.

Haven't seen a Master Composter course over here yet though. Perhaps I'll put something up to consideration after I get my MG credentials...

Unrelated questions. As I'm not a local, how do you pronounce Islington, same as island, where the 'i' is long and the 's' is silent? Or like Izlington (long or short 'i')? Also, how do you pronounce Worcestershire? Referring to the condiment, in the US it's usually pronounced as one of "w[o, short o, or u, flat u]rst[u, flat u, e, flat e]rsh[u, flat u, ea as in ear]r". Yeah, sorry for the series variable brackets, don't know how to put phoenetic pronunciation characters into a post, lol.
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default Re: Master Gardener scheme - spread the word or join in?

Post by Compostwoman on 18th April 2011, 8:27 pm

It is based on the US Master Gardener scheme Mr S. Similar training except we do it in an intensive 2 days and then further CPD sessions as and when. We also have to be at a minimum level of gardening experience for the Master Gardener scheme.

So is the Master Composter scheme - I will try to dig out the linky! The MC role can be someone with less experience.

Woo- stir-shirer ( Wo as in wood )and yes, Iszlington with a short initial I, and rhyming with "won"


Last edited by Compostwoman on 18th April 2011, 8:37 pm; edited 1 time in total

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default Re: Master Gardener scheme - spread the word or join in?

Post by Compostwoman on 18th April 2011, 8:33 pm

Master Composter in Illinois linky here

Master Composter training course gives you credits if you then do the Master Gardener training I believe!

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default Re: Master Gardener scheme - spread the word or join in?

Post by mr_sfstk8d on 18th April 2011, 8:57 pm

Ah, fab, will have to give that a read!! Thanks!!

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default Re: Master Gardener scheme - spread the word or join in?

Post by Compostwoman on 18th April 2011, 11:07 pm

mr_sfstk8d wrote:Ah, fab, will have to give that a read!! Thanks!!


Here is another (hopefully) useful link Illinois Master Gardeners

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default Re: Master Gardener scheme - spread the word or join in?

Post by AngelinaJellyBeana on 19th April 2011, 8:05 am

So, I guess I'm a master gardener in theory, as I'm sure a lot of us are, but because I can't afford the money or time to go to Royton I can't be called a Master Gardener even though I've done a horticulture course, have been growing things for years, give advice to people at work, my neighbour and my friend with her new alltoment?
What about all the old guys at the allotment who have given me advice, with their years of experience??Surely worth much more than a 2 day course, a book and some seeds?

I'm not knocking anything or anyone that encourages and helps people but titles like this smack a bit of self importance.
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Post by Wilhelm Von Rhomboid on 19th April 2011, 9:45 am

Compostwoman wrote:

Woo- stir-shirer ( Wo as in wood )and yes, Iszlington with a short initial I, and rhyming with "won"

I presume that last 'r' is a typo, CW. Wuss-turr-shy-er. Not shy-er-er, lol.

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default Re: Master Gardener scheme - spread the word or join in?

Post by Compostwoman on 19th April 2011, 10:49 am

AngelinaJellyBeana wrote:

So, I guess I'm a master gardener in theory, as I'm sure a lot of us are, but because I can't afford the money or time to go to Royton I can't be called a Master Gardener even though


Its all free training and one gets expenses to reimburse the travel costs.

The training is at the weekend. So yes if you work weekends I guess it would involve taking some leave.

A Master Gardener gives up their time to do this, I agree.


I've done a horticulture course, have been growing things for years, give advice to people at work, my neighbour and my friend with her new alltoment?


Sounds like you are just the sort of person Garden Organic would love to have on board...


What about all the old guys at the allotment who have given me advice, with their years of experience??Surely worth much more than a 2 day course, a book and some seeds?


Perhaps you could ask them if they wanted to take part in the scheme?Smile


Of course the "old guys" on allotments who give advice, or any other person who enthuses people to have a go at growing stuff, are exactly what this scheme is building on - but an awful lot of people don't have access to " those old guys" on their allotment ( unlike you, Jelly) because maybe they don't have an allotment, maybe do not know anyone who grows veg, or have no idea where to start to look for advice.

And being a Master Gardener is far more than a 2 day course, a book and some seeds. There are "experienced allotmenteers" in the scheme, as well as home gardeners, professional growers, school staff... In fact there are people from all walks of life, with lots of experiences to bring to the scheme, because they are keen to get other people growing their own food.

Once the training is completed you agree to offer at least 30 hours and mentor up to 10 households in your first year, as well as making contact with another 50 people. This is actually not difficult, if you go to a Show and volunteer on a stand to help people plant a pot of herbs or salad you can easily meet more than 50 people in a morning.


I'm not knocking anything or anyone that encourages and helps people but titles like this smack a bit of self importance.


Well, we all have different views, and you are entitled to yours, but that obviously isn't the opinion of the scheme organisers or all the many many people who take part, in the UK and the US of A...

or my view, come to that. Smile




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default Re: Master Gardener scheme - spread the word or join in?

Post by Wilhelm Von Rhomboid on 19th April 2011, 2:21 pm

I can see what you are saying about the intrinsic value of the scheme, CW, but I have to say I tend to agree with Jells over the terminology - it is rather like the descriptor for Moderrators etc on the forum - 'Master Gardener' is a title that implies that a veyr high level of experience/ability has been achieved - like a Master Carpenter or Masterchef. You would hardly expect a Master Carpenter to be someone who had done a 2 woodworking day course to attain the title.

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default Re: Master Gardener scheme - spread the word or join in?

Post by Compostwoman on 19th April 2011, 3:11 pm

Wilhelm Von Rhomboid wrote:I can see what you are saying about the intrinsic value of the scheme, CW, but I have to say I tend to agree with Jells over the terminology - it is rather like the descriptor for Moderrators etc on the forum - 'Master Gardener' is a title that implies that a veyr high level of experience/ability has been achieved - like a Master Carpenter or Masterchef. You would hardly expect a Master Carpenter to be someone who had done a 2 woodworking day course to attain the title.

As I have already said, those who are accepted onto the scheme have a pretty good level of experience and knowledge, fitting them to pass on their knowledge to others as mentors.

The point of this thread is to let people know about the scheme. If they are interested it gives them information on where to go to find out more.

I understand your point of view and agree it is a subject for discussion, but If anyone wants to discuss the rights and wrongs of the scheme calling those who are involved and volunteer "Master Gardeners" I suggest starting another thread, elsewhere on the forum.

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