Edible garden officially opens at Gallions Primary School in Beckton
PUBLISHED: 12:00 12 July 2018 | UPDATED: 09:30 23 July 2018
A primary school in Beckton opened an ‘edible garden’ last week.
The allotment in Gallions Primary School was built in December, but was officially opened with an event on Friday.
The space was decorated with bunting and children handed out canapes made from garden produce.
“We officially opened it last week because it was summer, and it looked a bit more colourful,” Susanna Martin said, the school’s gardener.
“We decorated and had elderflower cordial made by the children from Year Three.
“We had some string players, two choirs sang songs and there was a poetry reading.”
Susanna has been tending to the garden for more than six months, with the help of the children.
“I take out whole classes or smaller groups, and on lunchtimes, children come up voluntarily to help me,” she said.
“We do one day week with every year group so every child has a go, and once a week we have smaller groups for children with behavioural difficulties.”
The garden, which is about two thirds of the size of a football pitch, contains courgettes, squash, tomatoes, potatoes, garlic, onions, raspberries, blackberries and strawberries, as well as fruit trees and flowers.
The food is given to the school canteen, sold at market stalls, or handed out to staff and pupils.
“It’s changed the ethos of the playground,” Susanna said.
“The aim is to show children where their food comes from and how it’s grown. A lot of them don’t have gardens and haven’t been exposed to food growing before, so it’s a good way for them to learn about nature.”
The garden, which was built by Trees for Cities, was part funded by their partner Bulb. Trees for Cities have been building Edible Playgrounds to get children excited about growing and eating healthy food.
“It helps with their concentration, especially for children who might not concentrate well in the classroom, because they have to focus on what they’re planting,” Susanna said.
“It’s also good for their wellbeing, as it makes them feel happier to be in the evironment and there’s a calming effect.”
Going forward, Susanna is hoping to plant some more trees to make the garden shadier, and she wants to hold more events in the space, including a harvest festival.