Brighton school plants edible forest garden

Posted On 11 May 2010 at 2:47 pm
A Brighton school has planted an edible forest garden in its playground to teach pupils how to grow food.
Children at St Luke’s Primary School will also learn about other uses for plants, such as dying clothes.

Teachers are planning a grand harvest as part of the project which was made possible by £10,000 from the Big Lottery Fund.

The harvest will be followed by meals made from the food grown in the garden, ranging from traditional vegetables to exotic fruits.

Joe, 8, Eshe, 9, and Sammi, 10, from St Luke's School

As well as providing lessons for 600 children at St Luke’s, in Queen’s Park Terrace, more than a hundred children from other Brighton and Hove schools are expected to visit the forest.

At least 50 parents and local residents are also expected to be involved in the project through things like gardening courses.

Some of the lessons revolve around growing food in small spaces.

The forest is planted in three layers to mimic natural woodland with trees at the top, shrubs and perennials in the middle and ground cover plants at the bottom.

Rainwater will be harvested while a south-facing wall of the playground allows the planting of exotic fruit trees.

Jonathan Cooper, St Luke’s head teacher, said: “The edible forest will bring to life important subjects our children are studying as part of their curriculum and show how fresh food can be grown in small spaces.

“Children will gain a real insight into food production and explore issues to do with the environment and sustainability.

“Not only will our pupils benefit but other local school children will benefit as will the whole community through training courses and links with nearby local food initiatives such as the Whitehawk Community Food Project and Stanmer Organics.”

Brighton and Hove City Council cabinet member for children and young people Councillor Vanessa Brown said: “Around 600 children at St Luke’s will benefit directly from the opportunity to experience growing food for themselves and to make the connection between ‘spade to spoon’.

“When this garden is established, hundreds of parents, local residents and schoolchildren from other local schools will visit and even take part in training courses to inspire them to grow their own food.

“This is sustainability in action.”

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