School gardens are an excellent way to teach children about the food they eat. Children have the opportunity to grow fruits and vegetables, and they learn firsthand about different foods.
This is an effective way to educate children, and their parents, about the nutritious advantages of fresh, locally grown food while helping children get balanced meals. Gardening programs are also a great way to teach about sustainable food production and the issues faced by small producers in the UK and further afield.
There are various amazing school garden projects in Greater Manchester. Some consist of small herb patches in the play ground, others have become totally integrated in the school cirriculum - selling produce to the school kitchen and parents, learning how to preserve produce and running cooking classes for parents as well as advising other schools on how to make their school food system more sustainable.
Case Study - St Edwards C of E School, Rochdale
"Our vision includes a whole school approach to create a sustainable action plan. We aim to enhance awareness and involvement in all aspects of sustainability. The school also has a wind turbine, solar panels and a large garden area where the children participate in growing flowers and vegetables.
Our vision and aspirations have enabled us to become a showcase school for the North West of England. We provide the opportunity for schools to visit with pupils and work alongside our Eco-Committee. Our Eco-Committee have given numerous presentations at national conferences and several government ministers have viewed our school and spoken to our pupils about our commitment, with a view to disseminate this information to other schools. We strongly believe in sharing excellent practice.
We are now part of the DFE Inside Knowledge programme and host 45 teachers from around the country sharing best practice".
There are a number of local organisations that offer support to schools wanting to grow food or be involved in sustainable food projects:
Manchester Environmental Education Network offer training on sustainable schools as well as links to teaching resources, materials and information to help you embed sustainability education into your curriculum.
Eco Schools is an organisation with some great ways to make sustainable development a part of the life and ethos of a school.
DEP works with teachers, trainee teachers, youth workers and other educators to promote diversity, global education and sustainable development.