Helping others to grow

In this series of videos, Ru Leathland of OrganicLea shares his extensive experience of helping others to grow – both in the classroom and more informally.

You can help others in a variety of ways – from informal seed sowing or planting sessions with friends, neighbours or work colleagues, to more structured lessons and courses. You may find an opportunity near you!

You do not need a huge amount of growing experience or knowledge to help others – just your enthusiasm and passion for growing. If you’ve not tried it yet, I hope Ru will inspire you to give it a go.  If you have, I hope you’ll learn loads from Ru’s experience (I know I did).

Video 1: How Ru started helping others and about OrganicLea

Ru shares his motivations for helping and training others to grow, and introduces the community growing project he works at, OrganicLea

Video 2: What experience do you need? What can you get out of it?

Why a huge amount of experience in growing is not necessary to help others. The key is to be clear about the role your are taking (facilitator, task setter or teacher). And to find reliable sources of information.

Ru also shares what he’s got out of helping and training others – and how organic growing principles can help people even if they don’t have time to grow.

Video 3: Eleven Ingredients for Engaging Growing Sessions

Ru shares eleven ways to make growing sessions engaging and to help people learn. These are 1) Mix up theory and practical; 2) Make it Fun; 3) If running a series of sessions, start with a recap; 4) After a practical, ask what people have learnt before moving on; 5) Hold a series of sessions where possible as they help consolidate learning and enable a supportive group to form; 6) Use a variety of activities eg games, quizzes; 7) Use the garden as a classroom; 8) Involve learners in their own study; 9) Get people working in small groups and pairs as well as the large group; 10) Choose some good practical activities to help people feel they have achieved something; 11) Use metaphors to help explain gardening theory.

You don’t need to use all of these in every session. Chose those that you are comfortable with and that feel appropriate for the situation. A session in a community garden or on a street corner will, of course, be very different to one in a classroom.

Video 4 Diversity and running groups

Growing attracts people from diverse age groups and backgrounds. Knowledge levels can vary hugely. How do you run a session to make sure everyone gets something out of it?

Most people who come to growing sessions are keen and enthusiastic to learn – however, you still need to manage the dynamics of the group. Ru shares some techniques to do this.

Video 5 Barriers to successful growing

What are main challenges people face in their growing outside the classroom? Ru discusses planting plans, container growing, lack of time, lack of space and slugs…

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