In 2008 SEEDS began a project to encourage composting and food growing in Key Stage 2 in seven local primary schools, building a total of thirteen gardens.
The project aimed to educate children about the threat of global warming, the importance of recycling materials, the value of growing their own food and how to do this safely and effectively. The children were prepared for the outdoor activity through an inter-active power-point presentation on global warming,which also emphasised the usefulness of growing food within this context.The children participated fully in building the gardens, planting them and learning how to maintain them. Health and safety training was a key part in enabling full participation in these projects.
The project developed the method of “keyhole gardening”, which is widely used in Africa. A central compost source is encircled by a single raised bed of a suitable height for the age group involved. Accessibility and participation can then be maximised within a relatively small area. Schools were encouraged to take responsibility for the gardens after three years of support from SEEDS, either by funding further visits from SEEDS or by running the garden themselves.
In some Schools the project provided a kick start for ongoing vegetable growing. St. Mary's on Yew Tree Road have regularly won prizes for their vegetables.