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Pupils Enjoy Fruits Of Their Labours On School’s Allotment Patch

Published on: 22 Jul, 2013
Updated on: 22 Jul, 2013

Pupils from St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School in Guildford have again been harvesting fruit and vegetables on their very own allotment garden near the school in Aldershot Road.

St Joseph’s pupils, and teaching and support staff, enjoy some fruit freshly picked from the school’s allotment garden. Volunteers are required to help tend the plot at the Aldershot Road allotment site that is near the school.

St Joseph’s pupils, and teaching and support staff, enjoy some fruit freshly picked from the school’s allotment garden. The school welcomes volunteers to help tend the plot at the Aldershot Road allotment site that is near the school.

They have been tending the plot throughout the year and have now been picking a variety of berries, early potatoes and shallots.

The Year 3 pupils certainly enjoy the chance to walk from their classrooms up the hill behind their school to their very own plot, under supervision of teacher Eleanor Baston and support staff.

Mrs Baston said: “We love it up on the allotment. It ties in with the topic of growing plants and the experiments we do in class. It is then great to take the children up to the site where they can really see plants growing and for them to get involved such as digging in manure, watering and supporting young plants with canes and tying them in. They can then take the food they have grown home with them.

“We will be back on the allotment in September, gathering more produce, some of which is used for our harvest festival.”

But once there they are not alone in their cultivation work, because they get plenty of help and advice from fellow tenants of the Aldershot Road Allotments, co-ordinated by the Westborough Allotments Self Help Association (WASHA). This is a very friendly community minded allotment – perhaps like no other in Guildford.

Thanks to a small grant from the Big Lottery’s Changing Places – Local Food initiative, WASHA members have been able to assist teaching staff at St Joseph’s to continue to educate their pupils in growing food on the school allotment, as well helping families who have taken on an allotment there and need help and encouragement to grow lots of produce.

Mentors (advisers) are drawn from an existing supply of experienced food producers who are allotment tenants on the Aldershot Road site. Each participating family has a mentor assigned to them. Mentors give advice which results in successful food production. Mentors also give encouragement and where necessary can give practical hands-on help with cultivation, watering, and harvesting.

Grant money has also been used to provide equipment which makes cultivation of the site soil (it is particularly heavy clay) a bit easier and also fuel, soil improvers, nets, fertilisers and seeds. It also funds goodwill payments to the mentors.

The St Joseph’s plot has a professional mentor who liaises with the teaching staff. Together they work out the curriculum linkages to help the children with a broad spectrum of educational activities.

The children regularly visit their plot and are assigned different tasks. Other WASHA members are called on to assist at peak activity times.

Harvesting is under way and is great fun!

Harvesting is under way and is great fun!

The children are learning all the basics of gardening. They have tools made for children (funded by a separate Lottery grant) which are strong but manageable.

They have already learned to identify the fruit and vegetables on their own plot and also benefit from supervised excursions around the site to see other crops under cultivation.

St Joseph’s welcomes volunteers to help at the school, such as reading to pupils, sporting activities, managing the school grounds, and also on the allotment plot. So if you fancy a bit of digging or helping to develop the site, call the school on 01483 888401.

Also click here for the WASHA website.

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