Food Growing Schools
In 2017 – FoCG volunteers worked with the reception class of St Paul’s Cathedral school with weekly curriculum-based learning sessions on plants and biodiversity.
FoCG has also worked with two state primary schools in the City and City fringe to help deliver the Capital Growth Food Growing Schools programme.
Sir John Cass Primary School
FoCG volunteers maintained the roof top vegetable garden for several years. In the spring term 2016 we started weekly sessions for Year 2 to supplement their curriculum learning on the theme of Explorers – at the discovery of new food plants. As well as learning how seeds germinate, children planted potatoes and peas. In the kitchen we led herb tasting sessions and cooked herb scones, fava flour pancakes and colcannon. Most of the produce grown on the roof is used in the school canteen and is entered into the Harvestometer, which measures how many meals are produced in the garden.
Prior Weston Primary School
We also support the after school gardening club at Prior Weston primary school. The gardening club comprises 15 children from Years 1 to 6. With the agreement of the Friends of Fortune Park, the children have taken over the veg beds in the park to grow beans, peas and potatoes. They have also been on an expedition to Fann Street wildlife garden to look at frogspawn in the pond and have examined bird nests removed from nest boxes at the annual cleaning. Both the veg beds in Fortune Park and the roof top planters in the school are registered as Capital Growth food growing spaces.
Roof clean up sessions
On spring 2016 a task force of FoCG volunteers, local residents and parents took the first steps to create a new veg growing space, moving the existing roof top planters and clearing dead plants and creating pollinator-friendly beds. FoCG was successful in bidding for funding of £500 and five days of support from the RHS community outreach officer, Chris Young, to help create the new vegetable garden and support outdoor learning as part of the RHS Greening Grey Britain project for Health and Wellbeing.
Nearly 40 volunteers, including children from Prior Weston, their parents and local residents joined FoCG on 12 March 2016 to create a new vegetable growing space on the roof of the school. The existing wooden planters were moved to a single, sunny location and filled with new compost. The large concrete planters were cleared of dead plants and readied for replanting. The compost area got an overhaul and the wormeries moved to a better position.
At a further session on 16 April volunteers planted a herb bed, bee friendly and butterfly friendly beds for the Upper and Lower school and made a start on the veg beds ready for the children to take over in the new term. This session was part of The Big Dig a national day for edible gardening organised by Capital Growth. FoCG has registered Prior Weston as a Food Growing School and the veg garden is a Capital Growth growing space.
Year group curriculum-based learning in Bunhill Fields
On 24 May and 7 and 14 June 2016 FoCG volunteers and the RHS Community Outreach Advisor, Chris Young facilitated outdoor learning sessions for Years 1, 2 and 3 of Prior Weston primary school. A total of 180 children in six sessions. The 90 minute sessions covered pollinators, identification of plants and parts of the flower, collecting and recording insect species, habitats and eco systems and how birds are adapted to different habitats and sources of food. Children created rainbow palettes of leaves and seeds and played Pollinator Tag.