Schoolchildren learn about fruit and veg

Branton Community Primary School pupils who attended the Roots and Shoots event at Alnwick Garden. Picture by Jane Coltman
Branton Community Primary School pupils who attended the Roots and Shoots event at Alnwick Garden. Picture by Jane Coltman

Schoolchildren have reaped the results of a six-month project planting vegetables from seed after harvesting their crops at The Alnwick Garden.

The Roots and Shoots programme, which was developed by The Alnwick Garden Trust, is an active partnership project with Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

The partnership was developed in order to enable children to find out not just how to grow vegetables, but also to learn the importance of healthy eating.

Around 180 pupils from 10 schools across Northumberland have had the opportunity to taste and try a wide variety of different fruits and vegetables and have learnt the importance of reducing their salt and sugar intake.

Head gardener Trevor Jones said: “We have worked with local schools and the children to teach them how to plant seeds properly, prepare a vegetable patch and sow radishes, beetroot, carrots and potatoes.

“They have all had such a lot of fun, while learning where their vegetables actually come from as opposed to seeing them in the local store or supermarket.

“They also get fit and healthy while they are working on the allotments as well as bonding well together and making new friends while learning life-long skills. They have really got stuck into the weeding.

“It has been amazing to see how far some children have come, developing a sense of pride and seeing confidence levels growing alongside their vegetables. “To observe their surprise and astonishment at how just one (seed) potato can produce more than 20 new potatoes is wonderful.”

Dawn Willis, senior health trainer at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, added: “The programme is a great way for children to learn about how to plant and grow fresh food that you can eat, to promote healthy eating and encourage physical activity - and above all it’s lots of fun.”

This year’s project has, once again, been made possible via funding received from the Shears Foundation.