Gardening charity plants the seeds of a volunteering scheme

Master GardenersA gardening charity is seeking volunteers to help more Croydon residents grow their own food with confidence and success.

Garden Organic, working with Croydon Council’s Food Flagship programme, is recruiting more Master Gardeners.

Master Gardeners are volunteers who help people learn how to start growing some of their own food. They will be supporting local residents to grow fruit and vegetables in community gardens and at home.

The network was launched last autumn and Croydon’s Master Gardeners have already played a part in the pop-up saffron farm and are getting people engaged with community gardens in some of the borough’s parks. Garden Organic ask for around 30 hours of volunteering a year – that’s around half a day a month.

Garden Organic’s training course will even lead to Croydon’s keen grow-your-owners and allotment-holders receiving a number of benefits as recognised Master Gardeners.

“We are looking for experienced food-growers who enjoy sharing their knowledge with others to join us,” said Liza Scholefield, the co-ordinator.

“More people in Croydon are becoming interested in growing their own food for better health, taste and value. Master Gardeners offer support to people who want to start growing, but would benefit from some help and advice.

“They also go out into the community to promote the benefits of food growing through events, community talks and practical demos.

“The great thing about the scheme is you don’t have to be an expert to be apply to be a volunteer. All you need is a minimum of a couple of years experience of growing your own, together with a passion for encouraging others to have a go.”

Following foundation training, volunteers enjoy free Garden Organic membership, support from a dedicated co-ordinator, organic cotton polo shirt, badge, insurance and ongoing training, interactive website and start-up pack.

You can apply now for a two-day foundation course taking place in Croydon, at Duppas Hill Terrace, on March 5 and 6.

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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