TOPIC 1: How to identify your own and group’s knowledge, skills and attitudes

TOPIC 1: How to identify your own and group’s knowledge, skills and attitudes

In this part we will learn how to identify, record and continuously use the own resources of knowledge, skills and attitudes of community garden members to further enrich and develop the whole community and the invited public.

Knowledge, skills and competences can be developed progressively on a scale of levels 1-7 from very basic like awareness and understanding to very advanced like dissemination, as seen in the document Professional training course for Gardenisers on pages 10-11.

For further education in the community garden there is a need for:

  1. Identify individual knowledge, skills and attitudes of community garden members. If you need to clarify the difference between these concepts, please refer to Lesson 2, TOPIC 1 of this module: What is a difference between knowledge, skills and attitudes.
    • experience and knowledge – we find out the level of each member in the basic areas we choose, such as: cultivation, working with soil, composting, the possibility of growing without water or with efficient use of even small amounts of water, …
    • Skills – with regard to climate change mitigation (e.g. leading activities for children, cooking a balanced and healthy meal, explaining what (does NOT) belong in the compost, … ).
    • In the case of attitudes, it is possible to find out which basic attitudes the new member identifies with and which are not his/her own (one can use the form of ticking those options with which the member identifies, such as whether he/she is interested in the issue of climate change, is concerned to some extent about the impacts of climate change, feels personally responsible for climate change on Earth, what mitigation steps he/she is already actively using, … .)
  2. Collect responses – Create a table or map for the entire group of gardeners. It will provide clarity on the resources the garden already has and can retrofit the remaining members with their own. It will also identify what topics other practitioners may need to be brought in on in the future, as the necessary knowledge or skills are not yet present in the community.
    • Questionnaire – a simple collection tool in paper or even better in electronic form for easier work with the collected data (e.g. Google forms – the output is a table).
      • TIP: Include questions, for example, on the registration form for each new community garden member or before the new season. Make the questions mandatory to answer. This will increase the likelihood of completion by all garden members than creating a one-time questionnaire.
    • Meeting – one-off live data collection of at least one part of gardeners. 
      • It is possible to select answers interactively, for example in the form of sticky notes (post-its) to successive questions. The procedure for collecting information – hand out pencils and sticky notes to each member, sign each sticky note legibly, each person writes down the answers to each question on separate sticky notes: What skills does the garden offer?  What skills do you have/what are your experts in? What do you like to do?
      • Answers in the form of games (e.g., to elicit attitudes: Invite members to line up in order of agreement with specific statements to show the range of values of the whole group: climate change is important to me (left: Very important – right: Not Important), I compost my household bio-waste (Yes – Only partially – Not at all), I know how I can help mitigate the impacts of climate change on my own (Left: I have a clear idea and am actively taking practical steps – I do a little, but I like to be inspired – It’s not worth the effort)
      •  Engaging quizzes – quizzes/competition to map basic knowledge (see PUB quiz on composting in Lesson 4 in TOPIC 2 ).
    • TIPS – The collection of information can be supplemented with other practical questions, for example to identify resources useful for running a garden:
      • skills related to the running of the garden (working with tables, helping with photography, writing texts, manual dexterity, …)
      • time capacity to volunteer in the garden on average every month
      • equipment for loan or donation (drill, ladder, mower, tools, folding table or chair, projector,…)
      • willingness to engage in garden activities on a regular or occasional basis
      • demand for topics for further development and education
      • willingness to share your own experience with others
  3. Use the actively acquired database – The whole process will be ineffective if the community does not return to it repeatedly and start using the outputs in practice. The following activities are needed from the coordinator’s position to make the skills acquisition process effective:
    • transcription of the data obtained from the sticky notes into a clear table
    • creating a table from the online questionnaire
    • focusing on both theoretical and practical aspects
    • continuous addition of new information, for example from conversation or observation of gardeners
    • Inviting members to share their personal knowledge and experience in a specific workshop or job, or in the creation of info materials
    • using the skills of individual members for the whole group and asking them to join specific tasks or activities in the garden where they can apply their skills and gradually pass them on to others in the group

The output of gathering information from awhole group or a section of community gardeners can be a colourful map in the form of a garden members’ notice board or just a simple excel spreadsheet in a shared document:

  • group knowledge that the community already possesses and can begin to pass on within the members or even to the public
  • skills that will enable them to transfer, apply in practice or further develop their knowledge
  • attitudes towards perceptions of climate change and personal levels of responsibility for it, including awareness of what they are already doing as a group to actively mitigate the impacts of climate change in the garden or in their personal lives

An example of a possible map of members with a list of knowledge and skills available to others. Source:

On the basis of such detailed findings, it is possible to better map out the topics that are already covered in the garden and on which it will be good to get knowledge and or experts from practice. The next steps could be:

  • discussion of a shared vision of where the garden would like to move within, for example, 3, 5 or 10 years
  • alignment of gardeners on what they can do as a whole with the situation and within their capabilities
  • the emergence of practical steps that each individual can take for themselves
  • selecting the most important areas to focus on in the future to strengthen individual and group knowledge or skills in climate change mitigation actions
  • start working on a climate strategy for the garden. Look in Module 1: Climate change for specific areas that could be included in your climate strategy.
Additional Materials:

Overview 7 levels Knowledge, Skills, Competences – Professional training course for gardenisers, page 10 – 11

Experiences, knowledge, skills and attitudes useful in CG

How to use Google Forms – Tutorial for Beginners

The web portal also contains other useful resources


Kokoza, Archive of internal documents.

Professional training course for Gardenisers [online], 2020.