We are excited to be working with Cricket Green School at Mitcham Community Orchard as part of our new community gardening initiative - 'Grow, Taste, Eat for Health and Well Being', supported by the Wimbledon Foundation Community Fund.
The project will bring together school children and their parents to learn about growing fruit and vegetables, taste the food they grow and connect with others for healthier minds and healthier living.
We've had three sessions with the children so far, two at Mitcham Community Orchard and one in the classroom. The students have enjoyed digging and weeding the two beds allocated to them, explored the variety of different herb smells on the land (mint, rosemary, thyme, lemon balm, oregano), made a great start assisting with the clearance of weeds in the wildlife area and had the pleasure of tasting some of the tastiest cherries you'll ever come across straight from the tree!
We're looking forward to continuing the great work throughout the growing season.
Thanks to the support of the Wimbledon Foundation the children will learn all about food growing and how good for us fresh fruit and veg can be. The parents will be amazed to see their children trying all of the foods they grow because in our experience children will always want to taste their home grown food. This fact will allow us to introduce these great kids to a whole range of foods they might have missed in the past and this has to have a beneficial effect on their health and well being.
Tom Walsh - Community Ambassador, Sustainable Merton
More about the project
Our Grow, Taste and Eat project will engage children from Cricket Green School who have a diverse range of learning difficulties and physical challenges.
We anticipate that their participation in the project will bring a multitude of benefits to them and their parents/guardians. Overall it will be a new experience for the children in nurturing the growth of living things.
The project will also provide and opportunity for the children to:
learn about the importance of fresh healthy food, why it is so good for us, and the importance of a varied diet, as well as the risks that come from sugar rich and fast food diets.
improve their knowledge of different types of fruit and vegetables and herbs and the growing cycle from seed/small plant to harvesting.
increase their understanding of food growing - how important the soil condition is, how to enrich and care for the soil, how to water, the impact of insects and how we can control them, composting, and how to cultivate the land in a practical and sustainable way.
identify fruit and vegetables, taste them and learn about the many ways to prepare and eat them - such as raw, cooked, combining with other foods and making chutneys and purees.
learn practical gardening skills including digging, weeding, watering, sowing, composting and harvesting.
We also anticipate that this type of group activity will bring huge benefits in relation to
social cohesion and building social capital, with an increased number of the adult
participants learning more about volunteering and the contribution they can make to
health and well being and environmental activity in the local area, as well as enjoying the
social activity that comes from group gardening sessions.
This project is a pilot and we would like to replicate it in other schools, matching the
school to a local community gardening facility.