Food Education and LEARNing at communigrow

Here at Communigrow education underpins everything we do. Everyone is welcome to come and learn how to grow food, share their knowledge and develop a deeper understanding of our natural world.

Find educational videos and talks from our members of our community on our online resources page.

Online Resources

Schools and Colleges

food education and learning at communigrowLocal mainstream, special schools and colleges can access an alternative learning experience – it’s good to get out into the fresh air!

Young people have an opportunity to learn new skills, meet new people and build confidence in a unique and welcoming environment. Our sessions, led by experienced staff, are tailored to the specific needs of students. Topics cover for example, plant identification, basic vegetable growing, pollination, mini beasts, and seed dispersal. All include hands on activities to make learning memorable and fun.

Teachers comment on a range of additional benefits they see such as improved mental wellbeing and better teamwork (See Case study for a more detailed example). If you are interested in a one off session, ongoing weekly visits or a block of lessons on a specific topic please email us: education@communigrow.org.uk

We are currently working with Five Acre Wood School, Grow19 College and Grange Park School.  In the past, we have also worked with Rowhill School and Aylesford School.

Volunteers

We offer all our volunteers hands on learning, working with our knowledgeable staff growing vegetables on the field. You can find out on our volunteer page. We ensure we get to know volunteers and maximise their skill set. Alongside this, a program of more structured sessions delve a little deeper into different aspects of growing; plant nutrition, encouraging wildlife, etc. From time to time experts are invited to lead sessions on more specialised topics which volunteers have expressed an interest in, such as beekeeping or permaculture. These are open for anyone to attend and are advertised on our Facebook page.

Home Education

From March to December home educated families attend fortnightly sessions where they can develop their knowledge and skills together. Topics are chosen to support the interests of those attending and have recently included ‘Terrific Trees’, ‘Marvelous Mammals’ and ‘Recipe for success-composting’. Look out for our current program on our Facebook page or contact us at education@communigrow.org.uk.

Local Groups

Scouts, young carers and children with disabilities have all benefited from workshops at Communigrow. We can provide a couple of hours or a full day of fun activities, including learning how to harvest and prepare vegetables to create a delicious meal to share. Again, please get in touch to arrange a visit if you think your group would benefit from a visit.

A Food Education Case Study

Aylesford Sports College

Each term a group students from the College’s Bridge project attended a weekly 50 minute session. At Communigrow they experience the natural world and learn about food and plant cycles in practical sessions from adults with a passion for the environment. Each session was carefully planned to cover aspects of the National Curriculum programs of study and included hands on activities and where appropriate joined in with growing tasks on the field.

Feedback

“Students have grown in confidence and look forward to the sessions and in time have started to work as a productive team, each respecting the need for co-operation and respect. Students have had the opportunity to build on the character education and our school values. These are:

Respect, Confidence, Self-discipline, Integrity, Open- mindedness, Courage, Compassion, Motivation, Resilience, Curiosity

The students involved have been excited by the practical element and have mentioned that they have benefited in science from the topics covered by Communigrow, especially the work on different soil types and drainage. A full time student of the Bridge provision, who has specific challenges with group work and listening has been able to reintegrate back into mainstream lessons. He has taken the soft skills gained at Communigrow back into the classroom and is so far doing very well. Students have all said that they come back from Communigrow calmer and value the time spent at the project.”

Inclusion Leader
The Bridge, Aylesford School

Example Session

We were asked to provide a lesson on seed dispersal. The following lesson drew on the wide variety of species we have growing on site to illustrate different ways in which this occurs. We were able to ‘walk and talk’ as we moved around the field discussing how the  various seeds we found are dispersed and could see self-seeded spinach plants, evidence of mammals hiding seeds, a tiny oak sapling etc. We returned to the Yurt to look more closely at the seeds pupils had collected themselves and they were fully engaged and able to explain the adaptations needed for each method of dispersal. Harvesting bean seeds at the end of the session gave them the opportunity to work alongside other adults and work cooperatively.