By Lisa Grant, FGSL Engagement Officer
Spring into Growing – help to get growing this term at your school
At Food Growing Schools: London (FGSL) we encourage and inspire schools to start growing their own food, no matter how big or how small a space you have. As Engagement Officers, my colleague Paul and I can support you in getting started. We can give you advice on the phone, run a workshop at your school, or share resources.
A great way to get started this term is to join us for Spring into Growing 2017 – Plan it. Build it. Grow it! With our expert guidance, learn the secrets to planning and constructing your own school garden, work with recycled materials and nature in order to develop a productive growing space; all with the help of your local community.
Which Engagement Officer works where in London?
Lisa Grant – I cover these boroughs – Barking & Dagenham, Bexley, Brent, Bromley, Greenwich, Haringey, Havering, Lewisham, Newham, Redbridge and Tower Hamlets.
Paul Sadler covers these boroughs – Barnet, Camden, City of London, Croydon, Enfield, Harrow, Hillingdon, Islington, Lambeth, Southwark, Sutton, Waltham Forest and Westminster.
Find out what support FGSL can offer: Our Support.
An example school growing food – Smithy Street Primary School in Tower Hamlets
I met with the Early Years and Foundation Stage Phase Leader, Christine Hopes, at Smithy Street Primary School in Tower Hamlets towards the end of 2016. She had the intention of starting to grow with her team of teachers and their students, in a small dedicated space outside in the playground. Christine and I spoke about what she wanted me to cover in a bespoke workshop, and we looked at their growing space to see what was possible. Here is some advice on how to get started:
Top tips for getting started
1. Where – Decide on an outdoor area where you would like to start growing food. Does it get lots of sunlight?
2. Who – Decide on who is going to take a lead in this. Is it a gardening club at lunchtime or after school? Is it a phase group? It is a parent volunteer or a member of school staff?
3. What – Do some research. Is there a local farm or a local community organisation that could support you in starting to grow your own food? Have you filled out our online FGSL survey so we can help you get started?
4. How – Get in touch with either Paul or myself after checking which boroughs we cover. We can have a conversation by email or by phone in the first instance to get going with this great adventure in growing food.
Discover more FGSL resources to help your school get growing.
During the workshop, with another local school called Redlands Primary School, I worked with the staff to look at what plants were possible to grow at this time of year, and what small steps could be taken to start growing successfully in a manageable way. The two schools worked together to plan how they were going to start growing and I facilitated discussions about this.
Get growing in your school this Spring
If you wish to start growing and would like support from our team, please complete our online survey FGSL survey to tell us what support you need. Then, check out our online resources this term: Spring into Growing 2017 – Sow it. Grow it. Build it!
This includes information on:
• How to: Plan your school garden
• How to: Construct your garden
• How to: Work with nature in your garden
• How to: Get help from your local community
• Competitions and giveaways
We hope to hear from you!