Annual Masters conference at Ryton Organic Gardens

Garden Organic welcomed around one-hundred and fifty of our volunteer Master Gardeners and Composters to the annual National Volunteers Masters Conference at Ryton Organic Gardens last Saturday, 19th September 2015.

Master Gardeners and Composters are volunteers with a passion for growing organic food and composting. The Masters are trained to offer support and encouragement to people who’d like to begin to grow their own organic food or start composting at home, or in their community. There are currently 1,000 active Master Gardeners and Composters supporting new growers and composters across the country.

The conference began with a welcome from Sally Gardner, Head of Sustainable Communities at Garden Organic, Sally said:

In the short time that I’ve been overseeing the Masters Programmes I've heard so many stories inspirational stories. For this, myself and all of the Sustainable Communities Team, would like to say a big thank you. It's great to be part of an expanding network of national volunteers, all spreading the word and inspiring people to growing their own and compost at home.

Sally’s welcome was followed by talks on a wide range of organic horticulture; from Biodynamic Gardening, latest research into the health benefits of organic gardening with Garden Organic’s Margi Lennartsson through to top tips on seed saving from Garden Organic’s Heritage Seed Library.

The masters also got a chance to get their hands dirty in the various workshops on offer, learning top tips on No-dig gardening from award winning author and horticulturalist, Charles Dowding. Meanwhile, Elaine Hibbs, Garden Organic’s Horticultural Therapist took the Masters behind the scenes on a tour of the horticultural therapy gardens before involving them in an activity to demonstrate how organic gardening helps to improve mood and well-being.

Kate Newman, Master Composter Project Co-ordinator says: “The Conference is also always a welcome opportunity for our volunteers to network and share best practice and tips with fellow volunteers in the scheme. We’ve had some great feedback from people who attended; saying they found the conference to be inspiring, educational and motivating.”

And it wouldn’t be the Masters Conference if it didn’t end with a well-earned slice of grow-your-own themed cake.

If this sounds like something you’d love to get involved with, you can find out more about Master Gardeners and Master Composters by clicking on these links.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015