Edible Playgrounds success in the Midlands

  • Last updated: 1 November 2022
Garden Organic has been delivering the Edible Playgrounds project to schools since 2019. The project is in partnership with Trees for Cities, a charity that works with local communities to cultivate lasting change in neighbourhoods, whether it’s revitalising forgotten spaces, creating healthier environments or getting people excited about growing, foraging and eating healthy food.
School garden
Children from Queensmead Academy in Leicester have enjoyed harvesting potatoes from their raised beds

In the last 12 months we have worked with 13 schools across The Midlands. The project involved the design and build of oak raised beds that were accessible to children next to their school playgrounds, seating areas and all of the equipment that the school would need including seeds and tools. Garden Organic delivered training and growing advice for 12 months to each school, including lessons to support the schools to get started in food growing and support teaching staff to use the edible playground to teach across their curriculum, as well as helping children to learn about where their food comes from and making healthy choices.

Highlights from working with our Midlands schools this past year include children in Year 1 at Queensmead Academy, Leicester, who enjoyed harvesting the potatoes which they planted in bags just after the Easter holidays. Project Co-ordinator, Elaine Goold told us, "Their teacher reported that when asked where the potatoes grew on the plant the class was silent, so the audible gasp when they saw the potatoes tumble out from the plant’s roots as the bags were tipped out was a precious moment!"

A mixed year 3 and 5 class from Caldecote Community Primary School, also in Leicester, took their harvest a bit further, taking over the cooking classroom for a morning to turn some of their potatoes, spinach, onion and garlic into a delicious Sag Aloo, which was shared with their classmates.

Elaine said, "It’s been lovely to be able to support these teachers and schools to grow, and then harvest and cook their crops, and to see the genuine wonder on the children’s faces when they dug up the garlic bulbs hidden under the soil and tasted the peas straight from the pods. They’ve definitely caught the growing bug!"

We look forward to our fourteenth school beginning their growing journey in September!