At the beginning of 2017, we had been chatting with Ms Hind at Leith Primary about the needs of school staff and children when it came to learning about growing food, the importance of soil and composting, encouraging biodiversity and understanding where our food comes from, how this links with the broader food system and how this learning can be linked with the Curriculum for Excellence.
We recognised that there was a desire to get growing again at Leith Primary, as they had grown food in the school grounds in the past and had really enjoyed the project. Now they felt they needed some more guidance to get it going again and keep it sustainable and manageable.
So over the last month or so, Tom and I have begun working with some of the children from Leith Primary School. This is happening as part of our current development of new education modules, to be delivered on Leith Croft.
To begin we needed to get the growing spaces ready so the children could start growing again in 2017. We started by repairing the existing wooden raised beds that needed a little TLC. These beds were built as part of a past Climate Challenge Fund schools project.
After Tom had been in to the school to add some new boards to the beds, some of the children from the very dedicated Eco Committee joined me to get stuck in to some fun and messy sessions that included pulling up chickweed and sprouting potatoes that had been hiding from the last time they grew them.
The following week, they explored the croft a little, checking out our fresh compost and the amazing heat it gives off, and then got in plenty of exercise by shovelling the compost into wheelbarrows, ready to wiggle our way across the road and over to the school. These children are strong!!
They then set about topping up the beds with this lovely fresh compost, some enjoying the smell of it, and some not so much! And the children shared some of what they have done in the past to work towards and gain their Eco schools Green Flag.
Last week, fifteen children have came along to the Croft for a tour. They heard from Tom about what we are up to and what our plans were for the future, we wandered around the croft, spotting wildlife, smelling beautiful herbs like thyme and sage, and asking all kinds of questions.
Then it was time to do some more really hands-on practical learning by making newspaper seed pots, sowing peas, and planting garlic. Some of these plants will eventually go in to the raised beds at the school. These children really do make a great gardening team!
Together, we also explored some ideas on what the children would like to grow in their newly prepared raised beds. The list was long and colourful, and included dreams of quite a few exotic crops that may not appreciate the Scottish weather, unless they are grown in a nice warm greenhouse of course.
We will be meeting these eco-conscious children once a week from now until the end of March to help them to get well on their way to having some crops of their own to nurture in 2017.
With warmth and wonder
This work has been made possible thanks to funding from Good Food Nation and Seed Bed fund.