12 Norfolk Master Gardeners came together at Gressenhall on Thursday, 30 August, to discuss food-growing in schools. A surprising development within the Master Gardener programme is interest from schools for mentorship and support in their school gardens and food-growing. Currently 20 Norfolk schools are receiving support from a community-based Master Gardener volunteer and many others are waiting to connect with a suitably trained volunteer in their area.
The objectives of this meeting were to discuss the challenges of school-based gardening, share good ideas and resources and develop a platform of support for our community volunteers working with school growing.
Challenges identified include limited school resources, crop management within holiday periods and what to do on wet and wintery days. However, the biggest single challenge identified is the perceived relevance of growing in terms of the curriculum and this differs from each individual school depending on their strategic vision.
Master Gardener Nigel Boldero facilitated the meeting. Nigel currently supports two schools – Reepham High School and Cawston Primary School. Read more about his activities here:
The meeting was lively, participative and positively received by all delegates. Looking ahead, the group have agreed to continue communications through the Master Gardener forum and have provisionally booked a further meeting in early January 2013.
You can read about some of our school support work here:
The Food Growing in Schools Taskforce, led by Garden Organic was established as a response to increasing concerns about the health and well-being of our children and young people, and a confidence that food growing in schools is a successful way of dealing with these concerns, delivering many benefits. The twenty-five members of the Taskforce are a diverse group, representing equally diverse interests, but all with a strong belief that food growing in schools is an important activity. You can read their findings here: