Community Garden Project
Tim Baker, head teacher of Charlton Manor Primary School envisaged the concept of a community area for growing and cooking healthy food at Woodlands Farm. The project will be using derelict land and will provide locally grown produce to sell at the farm and profits made will go to the farm. The project will allow parents/carers to take their children to the farm and have access to a healthy meal with produce grown by school children. The families and communities will have access to the farm during school holidays and is a fantastic way to unite the local communities.
Charlton Manor Primary School is working with Chris Collins – Blue Peter Horticulturalist, Olivier Blanc and Charlotte Salt – creators of the Henri Le Worm App and Woodlands Farm Trust on a community garden project.
We have been allocated land on the farm to create a growing/cooking garden with an outdoor classroom, kitchen and chill out zone. Plans of the community garden have been drawn up by Chris Collins, with native plants, trees and flowers.
Health and well-being is an important factor in life. As parents you want your child to be eating a healthy meal and have knowledge of what they are eating and where food comes from. Schools, parents/carers, communities are working together to provide good nutritional meals for children as we know that what a child eats will affect their academic ability. The project will involve children and their families, faith groups and the wider community.
In many ways we are victims of our own success and with such an abundance of choice and easy access to all manner of food stuffs, many arguable unhealthy, it is easy to see how a problem with health is being fostered in the long term. It therefore seems imperative to create social awareness of healthy foods and general well-being.
Families will have somewhere to go in the school holidays where they know their children are safe, can take part in gardening and other fun activities, prepare meals, and enjoy a healthy family meal together.
As part of the project Charlton Manor Primary School will hold booster summer schemes for children to attend. The boosters will allow teachers to select children from their class who will benefit from attending the sessions to ensure the holidays do not affect their academic ability. It is often the case that the summer holidays mean that some children regress in their learning which in turn puts pressure on teachers in closing the gap in the first term. Children will take part in outdoor literacy and numeracy activities through gardening and cooking to help bridge the gap. Charlton Manor have the experience and knowledge of outdoor learning as we have worked with wide horizons, RHS, lead sessions in our garden for teaching training colleges and other schools. This scheme will give priority to children with safeguarding issues. Children will take part in the daily activities including cooking, using numeracy and literacy skills in their learning such as measuring raised beds, heights of flowers, writing poems, using their senses to describe flowers etc. and write about them.
Getting the site up and running is the first stage of the project. This includes presenting plans and drawings of the garden area, preparing the ground for cultivation and growing, constructing garden features, creating a fully functional food growing garden, set up workshops and educational activities and set up a farm shop.
The second stage will be creating a Henri Le Worm kitchen/deli café for families to enjoy a nutritious meal using locally sourced produce. This will also give families the opportunity to get involved in making a meal from selecting ingredients from the garden and creating healthy meals in the café.