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  • Writer's pictureFletchCath

"Community garden or communal garden?"

Community garden or communal garden? This was one of the questions asked early on in the Gardeniser Pro course I attended recently at Deen City Farm run by Social Farms & Gardens, and a perfect nutshell summary of the programme - thinking differently, sharing experiences, and consideration of other perspectives!

I first heard of Social Farms & Gardens when I started as Green Connector at Greener Cleaner Firs & Bromford last summer - the organisation was already a member and so I inherited this wonderful connection! Sometime later (having done the habitual follow on social media) I saw a post about the Gardeniser training programme. My interest was piqued, I hadn’t heard this term before and wanted to know more!

There was a good reason for it being new to me, Gardeniser is a new term!

“A Gardeniser (garden-organiser) is a key coordinating role working inside the community or urban garden. The role requires the Gardeniser to have both technical skills, like practical gardening skills, as well as the ability to enable volunteers and staff who work in the garden to be fully included in the work that garden is doing through good communication, mediation, organisation and management skills.”

"Gardeniser Pro is a 30 month European Union funded project which began in October 2017 and involves 5 organisations from the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy and Greece to support the professional development of the garden-organiser. The ultimate goal is to develop an accreditation for the Gardeniser training programme for recognition in vocational education and training systems."

It sounded perfect and I was lucky enough to be invited along, and so I arrived early one Monday morning to a city farm in South West London!

I joined a group of 20 other Gardenisers to be, and quickly felt at home. What followed was a whirlwind week of discussion, learning, advice, networking, best practice, visits, fun and lots of tea and cake!

The week combined useful learning and sharing classroom sessions as well as visits to a number of other sites in London, with varied types and purposes, inlcuding:

- Sydenham Garden

- Stepney City Farm

- Core Landscapes

- FreightLiners City Farm

- Pop Farm

- Brixton Orchard

Best summarised in pictures, the gallery below shows some of my personal highlights of a brilliant, inspiring, and tiring week. From accessing land to volunteer management, garden planning to budgeting, marketing to composting, and much more…..

I have made some brilliant friends, great connections, and got a real chance to share in the start of something special - I look forward to the next chapter!

Thank you to everyone who has been involved in the planning, organising and delivery of Gardeniser Pro, I think I speak for the majority, if not all, of the group when I say what a valuable experience it has been!

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