Turners Hill School, has for 17 years, been involved in food and farming. We were adopted by a dairy farm for almost 13 years which each class visited at least once a term. We produced a scheme of work based on the work done on the farm which we linked very closely to the National Curriculum. Unfortunately the farmer and his wife left the area and the farm is now managed in a very different way.
We decided that we wanted to develop our school grounds even more and approached the local land owner, who agreed we could manage a strip of land for growing purposes. For several years now we have been developing this area which we now call our outside classroom. Every class is responsible for an area and we have developed a scheme of work linked to this.
Class 1 are our Womblers and keep the outside classroom tidy, they go shopping for seeds and grow sunflowers each year. Class 2 are responsible for the sensory garden and the bugs hotel. Class 3 are our composters and bug busters. Class 4 look after the hens, incubating, cleaning and feeding. Class 5 are the McGregors and do all the heavy work.
Every thing we grow, we use, or will use in the future. At the moment we grow and eat vegetables, soft fruit and chickens. In the future we will have hard fruits for picking as well as for making pies and pickles. We have planted hazel trees which will be used for pea sticks and bean poles, holly trees for Christmas decorations, Horse Chestnut trees for conkers and Willow trees for weaving as well, as Native trees for shade and to attract birds and insects. We have also planted Daffodils so we can take home flowers on Mothering Sunday.
We are learning to be custodians of the countryside and we realise that some of the things that we have planted we won’t necessarily benefit from but future generations of Turners Hill children will.
As this is an ongoing project we have been looking at ways to be more sustainable for the future years, we understand that farming has had to diversify and one of the areas farms are looking at is renewable energy, so we decided that we would do the same. In November 2007 we had two wind turbines installed and during the last summer holiday we had Solar Panels fitted.
During this past year we are embarked on an exciting project. In conjunction with the local land owner we to planted 1750 trees, in a three acre site adjacent to the school. These trees will be coppiced in rotation and will hopefully be used as fuel for a bio-mass boiler. We are also currently looking for funding to help us get a rain water harvesting system.
Last term we started a project call Ready Steady Grow, Cook. This linked really well with our healthy schools work. Class 5 visited a local supermarket and in groups of four were given a small budget of to buy food that would produce a healthy meal, some of their ingredients had already been grown in our gardens! They then came back to school and cooked their meal, there was pasta sauce, baked potatoes, fruit puddings and pancakes!
We want to develop this more by looking at how far our food travels and what local produce we can buy all year round. Most of the classes will be visiting farms this year and will look at how food is produced and will explore the journey from farm to fork. We hope to include a scheme of work that can be included in our outside classroom work. In the future we hope to do a joint project with our school in Spain on food and farming as well as linking with an inner city school to share our resources.