How volunteers can help
Volunteers offer schools a real step up in getting their gardens growing. There are a number of fantastic schemes in London welcoming new volunteers, who can help you find the perfect match, such as:
- Capital Growth London Grows Buddy Scheme
- Master Gardeners (for Camden and Islington)
- RHS Get Your Grown Ups Growing
- Team London
- Greater London Volunteering
Master Gardeners offers local people and communities free food growing advice and support. The network of enthusiastic volunteers are fully trained and supported by the UK’s leading organic growing charity, Garden Organic.
- Ask your children's teachers what their plans are to get their school growing food, and how growing food fits into the curriculum.
- Join the PTA and raise the subject at the PTA meetings.
- Offer to organise a food growing event such as a stall at the schools fete.
- Encourage your children to grow a few vegetable seeds at home and take any extras to school to swap with their friends.
- Organise a coffee morning after school drop off and find out who the expert growers are amongst the parents and brainstorm ideas on how you can help and encourage the school to get children growing food.
Find out which of the schools in your area are growing food, or would like to start and ask what you can do to help. For those that aren’t growing find out why and see what you might be able to do to help. For example find out whether there are any food growing projects going on in your area and put them in contact with parents and teachers.
You don't need to be an expert
Here are some ideas of what you can do to help your local school grow food.
- Offer practical support - help with watering and weeding your local school's vegetable plot
- Donate - have you got any spare vegetable seedlings or plants you could give to your school?
- Start a tool bank - collect unwanted tools and garden equipment from local gardeners
- Write an article or blog - about food growing activities in your local school or community for your local paper magazine or website
- Fundraise for your school - help them to raise money to expand your garden and buy equipment by organising an event or sale
- Invite your local allotment society - ask them to advise local schools and teachers on how to grow food
- Share your knowledge - if you have gardening, enterprise or practical skill (e.g. organising events constructing raised beds) share them with your school
- Donate some growing space - give part of your allotment plot to a local school who do not have any of their own land for children to grow vegetables on.
- Involve your local Councillor - ask them whether there are any spaces that local schools could use to grow food.
Even if you are not an expert grower yourself you’ll find people who are, as well as finding out a lot more about what’s going on in your community, making loads of new friends and useful contacts in your local area on the way! You’ll get to know your fellow parents, neighbours, teachers and school community much better and your volunteering work may even give you something to put onto your CV if you are taking a break from work!