We Grow You Grow
Together with the Thomas Franks Foundation we have developed a teaching garden to deliver the We Grow You Grow programme to local Primary Schools. The programme of 12 lessons is delivered in the teaching garden on campus, which includes a large greenhouse for propagation, raised beds for cultivation and a polytunnel with vegetable truckles for all year round growing, provides a perfect environment for learning about food production, climatology and a range of other topics. Supported by 6th Form students staff from St Joseph's take a class of 30 students from Year 3 upwards. Currently 3 state primaries have started lessons and are already starting to pick crops they planted as seeds.
To help educate young people into where food comes from and give them the skills to grow their own fruit and vegetables.
It is clear from our own Prep Pupils that many young people are unaware of where their food comes from and what the process of producing it consists of.
The local Primary schools have identified that our syllabus supports the teaching of science from Year 3 upwards.
Taking inspiration from FarmEd in Oxfordshire, we have produced a syllabus together with The Thomas Franks Foundation(TTFF), suitable for those from around age 7.
The inspiration came from our involvement in TTFF's Feeding Communities initiative during the Pandemic where, together with their education partners the charity produced over 1 million meals for those in food poverty in 2020 and 2021. It became clear that we could do far more good helping children to grow fruit and vegetables at home.
We started developing the garden in January/February 2022 and commenced lessonsin the last week in March 2022
Space for a garden is essential, but even a single raised bed and a bright windowsill would be sufficient.
We currently use an area that was an overgrown garden used by the nuns before they withdrew several years ago
Currently the Bursar and Site Team help deliver the lessons together with specialists from TTFF. We are supported by members of the 6th Form Leadership Team. We intend this to be a long term initiative that we will hopefully deliver to many local schools. TTFF are hopeful that our garden will become a template for others and we have visitors booked to come and see it.
The cost of the development has been bourne by the College Charity Fund which raised funds by having a Surplus to Purpose feeding day where all of the ingredients were destined for landfill and our chefs turned them into meals. Each student contributed the cost of a normal meal raising over £3000 for the project.
Not yet, but feedback from the schools is really positive and we are growing some wondefull crops.
Our Year 3 and Year 5 students were the first to participate and we now have two classes, one from Redlands our nearest neighbour and one from Christ the King. Sy Martin's are booked for the Autumn Term
At the moment we do two double lessons a week (one per school) in order to deliver the curriculum before the end of term. We are planning from the autumn term to do two single lessons a week (one per school) over twelve weeks.
Our intent is that this should be a permanent arrangement delivered by volunteers.