Update on Our Very Special Schools Project

As you will remember from a few months ago, the Bristol Hospital Eduation Service was one of the schools that won our IncrEdible Schools competition last year and we, and a group of volunteers have been working hard this term to create real change on their allotment at St Werburghs so that the students at the school can access it safely and learn lots from being outside in such a beautiful spot. They are learning not just about food growing, but also about nature, about birds and their songs, about trees and plants and the joys of being outside. The allotment is one that is on the hillside in St Werburghs and apart from the looming site of Fairfield School in the distance and the trains on the track below, it’s hard to look around and believe you are in the city.

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The school is full of some of the most vulnerable young people in our city and we are thrilled to be able to give them an opportunity to learn about food, nature and just “being” in a space that is safe as well as hugely biodiverse. Seeing them take fruit from the trees, watch birds flying around and not screaming every time they see a worm or an earwig is brilliant because it means they are starting to understand the space and join in with the project.

We have spent a considereable amount of time preparing an area at the front of the plot that was full of brambles and weeds, along with a very brave gooseberry bush that was holding on for dear life. The space is cleared and the decision was made to use a no dig method as the area is going to be for some fruit trees. A layer of cardboard was put down followed by a thick mulch of leaves from the school car park which will rot down nicely and then a thick layer of manure mixed with straw that we got from St Werburghs City Farm, just down the hill. Now we are just awaiting the trees, which are coming from Bristol City Council’s One Tree Per Child Project and we hope will be two apples and two pears on small root socks to keep them manageable.

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You can get involved in this project! We meet at the cafe at St Werburghs farm every Wednesday at 1.30 and spend a couple of hours working on the site. There is no need to feel that you must come each week-it is a completely drop in group as all our work parties are across the city. If you are going to come drop us a quick line to sara@ediblebristolorguk.wpcomstaging.com so we have your email in case we cancel due to weather or other things we aren’t in control of!

 

Incredible Competition for Bristol Schools

Bristol food growing community collaborate to support new education programme.

edible-schools-comp-eflyer-finalTuesday 3rd March marks the launch of an exciting food growing competition for kids and teachers with green-fingered ambitions. The IncrEdible Schools competition will see 3 schools within the City of Bristol win gardening tools and the opportunity to create an ongoing growing project within their school and wider community.

In collaboration with the city-wide food festival Bristol Food Connections and sponsors Almondsbury Garden Centre, organisers Incredible Edible Bristol hope the competition will raise awareness of their new free-to-use IncrEdible Education Programme which has been developed to help support schools who might otherwise struggle to cover these important life skills.

Food growing, rightly so, is now included on the national curriculum – and brilliant teaching aids from organisations like Garden Organic, RHS and Resource Futures are available,” explains Sara Venn, the food activist and horticulturist who co-founded Incredible Edible Bristol in January 2014, “but schools and teachers are already horribly over-stretched and unless they have a groundsman or staff member that happens to be a green-fingered grower, or the funds to bring someone in, they will struggle to turn theory into practice. We want to support teachers to implement a successful growing programme without it becoming immensely stressful so that’s what our IncrEdible Education Programme has been designed to do.

Key to the initiative are hands-on site visits by the IncrEdible Education team. Teachers can then continue to implement their tailored growing programmes via a new e-learning website. Developed to bring all the available resources together in to one place in a user-friendly format, EdibleSchools.org.uk offers specially created ‘how to’ guides, forums for knowledge sharing and advice for engaging the wider community. Schools also have the opportunity to procure additional workshops and training, for both children and teachers, to further strengthen their food growing success.

The programme is being introduced to all schools within the City of Bristol initially, with plans to extend to the greater Bristol area over time. More information about the programme and how to enter the competition can be found at http://EdibleSchools.org.uk.

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Notes for editors
High resolution images of food growing work in schools are available upon request.
Contact: sara@ediblebristolorguk.wpcomstaging.com or call 07786 194805
PDF version of this release available here: IncrEdible-Competition-for-Bristol-Schools

Incredible Edible Bristol is a food growing movement working with communities to bring food to spaces in the public sphere which have often been unloved or underused. Working collaboratively with other organisations, we support food growing across the city, increasing communities access to healthy, fresh and organically grown fruit and vegetables. Through this process we hope to promote community resilience through food, the one thing that we all have in common. As schools are central to the community, we believe our IncrEdible Education programme will help bring communities together as well as teaching our young people important life skills. http://ediblebristol-org-uk.stackstaging.com

Bristol Food Connections is a community based food festival. The festival runs from 1-9th May 2015, starting with 3 days of food related activities in Millennium Square and College Green and then going on to see further community based events. http://www.bristolfoodconnections.com

Almondsbury Garden Centre is run by Park Garden Centres and are true supporters of community growing as well as of schools in Bristol. Based in Almondsbury they offer great service to the city of Bristol and have an outstanding array of plants on site all year round. http://www.parkgardencentres.co.uk/almondsbury

Photos of polytunnels and raised beds being built at a school in Bristol.

 

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