YOUNGSTERS from inner city Leeds are growing their way to a healthier future.
Pupils and their families at Bracken Edge Primary School are learning how to grow their own fruit and vegetables and have a plot in their school grounds to grow their own produce.
A garden party was held to mark the launch of a new outdoor classroom and garden with the New Shoots garden group, in association with Leeds Edible Schools Sustainabilty Network.
It has been made possible thanks to a funding grant of £10,000, secured from Awards for All, with work beginning a year ago.
New Shoots was originally formed in 2010 by a group of parents hoping to beautify the school grounds, as well as providing opportunities for the school community to grow flowers, fruit, vegetables and grain.
A long term aim was set to put growing on the school agenda and develop an outdoor classroom space. In 2012, an unused overgrown space in the grounds was cleared by volunteers
and staff and in April 2013, work on the community garden began.
Donna Cutting, of New Shoots, said: “We wanted an area to inspire the children, staff and parents. A space that not only would offer opportunities to explore the natural world, but one that would celebrate the diverse and rich community of Bracken Edge Primary School.
“We worked in partnership with the school community, Hyde Park Source and TCV to complete the area, in accordance with a beautiful design by Helen Pearson an ex-parent. We want to add to the bio-diversity of the area with our planting and our pond and help children develop a passion for the outdoors through hands on experience with seeds plants, food and chickens.
“We want to celebrate some fantastic community groups such as Leeds Childrens Circus, Chain Reaction pedal powered sound system and The Real Junk Food Project. Our emphasis is on sustainability, education and opportunity and fun.”
NEW shoots hopes that the message of growing your own fruit and veg is spread amongst the community.
It is something people of all ages can get involved with.
The group works with children aged three-11 years, and provides weekly growing sessions and has strong partnerships in place with other local growing groups and enjoy working together.
New volunteers are always welcome, especially those who can pass on any green-fingered knowledge. New Shoots welcomes experienced growers wishing to pass on their skills and new growers wishing to learn in a safe and inspiring environment.
More details at http://newshoots.weebly.com/ or look up the New Shoots Facebook page.