The Outdoor Environment
Green Fingers at Geoffrey Field
The School Allotment Club
The allotment was set up fourteen years ago as part of the Food for Families project. Once a week, after school, the club would meet and provide an opportunity for children to garden alongside parents. They would then take home some of the harvest to cook and try. It has always been a belief that children are far more likely to eat a vegetable if they’ve had a hand in growing it. The club has always been popular and is regularly attended by a number of families.
The allotment proved very popular with the children so ownership of a bed was handed over to each year group (3,4,5 and 6).The classes were provided with seeds and a little practical knowledge and so the annual GFJS Vegetable competition came into being.
The show is judged by our head teacher, a school governor and children with a keen interest in gardening. The winning year group are presented with a trophy and the children can take the vegetables home to cook.
In September the school has two additional competitions: The Great Geoffrey Field Bake Off and The Largest Pumpkin Competition.
A cooking apple tree was planted 15 years ago and its fruit provides the key ingredient for the Bake Off competition. This year saw a record number of entries, over 50, everything from crumbles to cupcakes. The winners received a cookbook.
In May the children have the opportunity to enter the pumpkin competition. They are given a seed, a pot and a bag of compost and a few basic growing instructions. In October the children bring their fruit in for the weigh in and a winner is announced.
A very proud moment for the school came with winning the Reading In Bloom School Garden competition for the third time. The award provided recognition for all the hard work the children and their parents put into the allotment.
The garden has provided the children with lots of opportunities to learn through hands on activities. The herbs from the forest garden were used in science when making bath bombs. The berries squashed and used for paint when studying Stone Age art. The vegetables are made into soup when studying healthy eating. The lifecycle of plants is studied in the summer term. The garden provides classes with the plants for experiments at different points in the year.
The school runs university afternoons where each child gets to choose a course that interests them. The gardening course is always popular and over the last year we’ve planted over a hundred trees to make a wildlife hedge, created a bug hotel and experimented with green slug traps to stop the daily assault on the seedlings.
Gardening with nature is strongly encouraged in the school.
From very humble beginnings, the school allotment now provides the opportunity for over 300 children and their families to grow fresh fruit and vegetable and transfer these skills to their own gardens at home.