Rhubarb to turkeys - back to school will see pupils tending allotments
PUBLISHED: 14:33 30 August 2020 | UPDATED: 15:59 30 August 2020
School fields are being turned into thriving allotments to be tended by pupils, with produce used in lessons and handed out in the local community.
Ten secondary schools in Norfolk have signed up to work with educational charity Papillon Project, which looks to build on the allotment scheme which was run for five years at Reepham High School.
The latest to bear fruit is at City Academy Norwich, where work began just before lockdown to transform an area of the school grounds.
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With schools encouraged to use outdoor learning as part of guidelines for safe reopening, pupils returning on September 7 will get involved in looking after the allotment - called ‘Canalot’, which has been transformed over the summer.
Throughout the Covid-19 lockdown, key worker students, teachers and Papillon Project volunteers constructed the allotments using recycled materials, including old school desks, light shades, old tyres and toilets as herb and flower beds.
They have already been able to enjoy the fruits - and vegetables - of their labour. Potatoes, herbs and broccoli have been used to create tasty fresh dishes in their food tech classes.
Headteacher Paul Collin said: “We have seen a huge benefit of working with our young people in this outside learning environment.
“During the lockdown period this open space, which has transformed from a plot of grass into a fully sustained allotment complete with chickens and turkeys.
“It has been overwhelming to see the local support from farmers, community and businesses in offering used or unwanted items to help us grow our project.”
The growing has continued through the summer break with bumper crops of courgettes, herbs, rhubarb, beetroot, tomatoes and squash given to West Norwich Helping Hands, a local community service group for their food parcel delivery to help those in need.
The allotment now also has seven chickens and three turkeys, which proved popular with year six students during their induction week.
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The Papillon Project has also helped create allotments at Dereham Neatherd High School, Litcham School, Sprowston Community Academy, Thorpe St Andrew School and Hethersett Academy.
It is set to begin work on three new allotments at Diss High School, Long Stratton High and Old Buckenham High from September.
Matt Willer, who began the project when he was a teacher at Reepham High, said: “I want to inspire children and young people to learn to grow their own food for their school and their community.”
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