The beauty of food growing in schools is that it is an activity all pupils can engage in and benefit from. One school for pupils with a range of special educational needs is proving just that.
Many pupils at Charlton Park Academy had limited access to outside space and little understanding of where food comes from. Bryher Pennells, Culture Curriculum Lead, decided to introduce food growing to the school.
They used raised beds and trugs enabling access for all pupils including those in wheelchairs. Plants are chosen for different reasons; fruit trees and hanging baskets entice pupils to look up, and herbs are great for the sensory gardens encouraging touch, taste and smell.
Pupils benefit in lots of different ways too, some trying food they wouldn’t normally eat and others expanding their learning through photography and cooking. The post-16 student enterprise which uses produce from the garden to make food to sell and share is helping some pupils develop transferable skills for life.
Recipe for Success
- Health and safety is obviously really important, Bryher uses organic compost which is refreshed every year and pupils use their hands to plant so no heavy tools are required
- Success can be key – try using some plug plants as well as growing from seed, so progress is more easily tracked
- Choose a range of crops, different textures, colours and smells – use the growing cards from Garden Organic to help work out what to plant and when
It’s not too late to get involved in Food for Life’s Grandparent Gardening Week. Taking place from 27-31 March 2017, Grandparent Gardening Week is a great way to involve your community in school life and kick start your garden into action after the winter.
This year there is a great competition to get involved in too*. Prizes include a Polytunnel, roll out sensory garden and a veg trug! Just share your Grandparent Gardening Week photos on Twitter using the hashtag #FFLGGWeek. Competition deadline – 28 April 2017
Hosting a gardening activity
Ask a team of students to lead the Grandparent Gardening Week activities, involving your school cook and DT lead. Ask what crops they would like to see grown, think about where they might plant them or how your school cook could use them in their recipes, linking the crops with the kitchen and classroom learning. Share ideas and plans across the school to involve everyone in the fun! The Food for Life Awards Package provides plenty of expert growing resources, including Garden Organic growing cards. For a template poster, media invite and press release visit: Grandparent Gardening Week.
Spring into Growing – Plan it. Build it. Grow it!
You can also dip into FGSL Spring into Growing 2017 resources to help you get growing together on Grandparent Gardening Day. For more ideas on how to work with your local community visit FGSL Support.
Get your grandparents involved – happy growing together!
*Please note – you need to be a Food for Life school to enter the competition. Membership starts at just £25. Find out more here