Growing an Edible Playground community
Edible Playgrounds, a Trees for Cities Programme that transforms areas in school grounds into vibrant food growing spaces, are springing up around the country and addressing several key areas of concern around children’s health. They teach pupils where food comes from, that healthy food can be the easy choice, in and out of school and also encourage physical activity.
Trees for Cities are working in partnership with schools across the UK to create an outdoor allotment with raised beds, orchard, compost, wormery, greenhouse and an outside classroom. Early in the year they work with teachers and pupils to prepare the soil and sow seeds to grow plenty of tasty produce ready for harvesting throughout the spring and summer terms. The apple orchards and raspberries provide a fruitful autumn harvest and students continue to grow crops throughout the winter.
“The outdoor classroom provided by our edible playground has become a popular learning hot spot and supports the whole primary curriculum”, Helen Carvell and Tracey Langridge, Head Teachers at Rockmount Primary School in Croydon.
Trees for Cities not only builds the garden from scratch, they also work with the whole school community for an academic year – children, teachers, parents, governors and caterers to build the capacity of the school to teach through gardening and to embed learning into the school curriculum.
Celebrating the opening of Edible Playgrounds across the UK
Over the last couple of months, Trees for Cities has been busy organising launch events at schools, celebrating the opening of five new Edible Playgrounds that are already showcases for all the fantastic work the pupils have been doing to grow their own nutritious food.
X Factor 2009 finalist, Danyl Johnson, was joined by Rob Wilson MP, the Mayor of Reading and Michelin Star chef, Dominic Chapman to officially open the first edible playground in Reading at the Palmer Academy. The garden was thriving and all guests were impressed by the phenomenal crop of lettuce, peas, beans, carrots, radishes and strawberries that the children had been growing.
The Edible Playground team have been busy working with three schools in Croydon – one of London’s two food flagship boroughs, to develop their edible playgrounds. Last month they launched three Edible Playgrounds in one week at Rockmount Primary, Fairchildes Primary/Meridian High and St Giles School. The edible playgrounds were bursting with life and children used produce from the garden to make canapés for each launch, with the help of Chefs Adopt a School.
A surprise visit from Blue Peter
The pupils at Baguley Hall primary school in Manchester had all written letters to Blue Peter telling them what they had been learning about and growing in their edible playground. Blue Peter presenter, Barney Harwood was so impressed he decided to come to the school in person to deliver a well earned green “Blue Peter” badge to each pupil. All the children have been enjoying the experience and opportunities that their edible playground has given them, especially tasting the fresh fruit and vegetables! Trees for Cities have created over 30 Edible Playgrounds across the UK and with support from players of the People’s Postcode Lottery, have been able to extend their work to Reading, Manchester and Liverpool. They have also formed valuable partnerships with Chefs Adopt a School, where chefs cook with pupils using Edible Playground produce and School Food Matters, who are supporting schools to achieve their first Food for Life Award.
To find out how your school could get an Edible Playground visit our website www.edibleplaygrounds.org or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org.