St Francis School in Dundee are developing a community family allotment through building partnerships and bringing communities together to develop knowledge and gain skills for life in all aspects of nutrition and food. The garden is called The Patch, and the groups of children that maintain it weekly learn all about biodiversity and growing fruit and vegetables.
The Patch aims and objectives
Sharon Cura from the school says that most of the children come from an area that has struggled economically, and social inequalities are closely linked to poor health and diet. The Patch aims to shape eating patterns so that they can take healthy eating habits into their daily lives. The school's outdoor learning area allows the children to grow vegetables, herbs and fruit whilst accessing all areas of the curriculum and transfer skills from the classroom to outdoors, e.g. setting up stalls at local event such as the churches harvest festival, etc.
For the Rocket Science Project the children grew plants, tended to the herb garden and sowed the seeds - doing this taught them how to grow and what they need to make the plants grow. The children also risk-assessed the dangers in the garden - identifying areas and resources such as a water butt, trowels, compost making a big garden plan.
The garden has created strong partnerships between home and school by inviting children and their families to a family food event where they can taste and sample the products they grow in the allotment. For example, they had a Big Soup event in conjunction with the RHS, and a bongo and film night where they serve up food.
Over the next year the children and families will continue to develop the allotment to grow and use produce in school and within the community. They plan to introduce new flowers and plants, and a range of vegetables such as tomatoes, peas, spring onions, and more. They want to build a new compost area, and the children will be enlisted to build a new bug hotel. Finally, continuing to produce and, collectively with the cooking club, bake the food they are growing.
The two big projects though will be adding a polytunnel and a summer house, which they are all very excited about, and will drastically expand what they can grow throughout the year.
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