Growing food for the community
Children at Churchfield Primary School have been learning how to grow food to help feed the community as part of a new Enfield project called Seed to Safe.
An unused space in the school grounds has been transformed into a sensory garden with fruit, vegetables and herbs to be harvested and distributed to local families.
Churchfield is the pilot school for the project, which is run by Direct Community Support, a community interest company set up to support hundreds of families during the covid pandemic by providing weekly supplies of food and non-food items.
As the country transitions from the pandemic to grappling with the cost-of-living crisis, Metin Ali, founder and CEO of Direct Community Support, launched Seed to Safe to help tackle food poverty at the root cause.
Metin explains: “Food prices are rising fast and healthy products like fruit, vegetables and salads have been hit hard by inflation. We want to ensure that the communities we serve are resilient and able to bounce back, no matter the problems that they face.
“Seed to Safe transforms unused school land into outdoor classrooms which benefit pupils and the wider community. Children are taught where food comes from and the benefits of growing their own and they take this learning back to their families.”
The old allotment at Churchfield is now a child-friendly space, designed to inspire and educate pupils. It has sensory herbs, with strong smells or textures, wildflowers and crop areas, for example the Jack and the Beanstalk themed runner bean section. Children can then decorate the area with props inspired by the story.
Metin says: “We’ve already harvested tomatoes, peppers, lettuces, chard and herbs, and donated these to Cooking Champions, a social enterprise providing weekly groceries for families in need and free children’s meals in the school holidays.
“Long term we want to roll Seed to Safe out to more primary schools in Enfield, and other boroughs, so that they become food hubs for their local community.”
Nicki Jaeggi, Executive Headteacher of Churchfield, says: “Seed to Safe is a wonderful opportunity for the children to learn more about where food comes from and how to grow their own, while also supporting the community.
“The children have really enjoyed getting involved and are already excited about spring, when we’ll start planting in earnest again, ready for next year’s harvest.”
For more information about Direct Community Support and to enquire about getting involved in Seed to Safe, visit directcommunitysupport.org.uk.