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Pupils Sprout Success with Council Cash

Published Monday, 25 November 2013

Youngsters at a Ribble Valley primary school hope to sprout success thanks to a £1,400 grant from Ribble Valley Borough Council.

Barnacre Road Primary School in Longridge has received the cash - along with £10,600 from the National Lottery - to set up a Community Food Growing Garden.

The funds have been used to buy soil and compost, apple and pear trees, fencing, paths, compost bins, a wormery, tool shed and polytunnels.

The garden will feature a raised bed for each year group, with any fruit and vegetables cooked in the school kitchen and eaten by pupils for lunch.

Teacher Sam Mosley said: "The children are very excited by the garden and helped with the design.

"Every Thursday will be roast dinner day at the school for local elderly residents, who will be helping us throughout the year in the garden."

Community food growing has seen a resurgence of interest in recent years and there is an extensive waiting list for Ribble Valley's 250 allotments.

Just 30 minutes of gardening can burn as many calories as aerobic exercise, while allotments provide a healthier and more nutritious diet.

Gardening has also been shown to improve mental health and develop life skills for youngsters, such as deferred gratification and reward for effort, and provides a sense of achievement, satisfaction and pride.

Gardeners can save up to £950 a year by growing their own produce, as well as reducing their carbon footprint and helping to tackle climate change.

The Community Food Growing Scheme is being coordinated by the council's partnership officer, David Ingham, who said: "Educating children on the importance of healthy food and environmental sustainability is now considered an important role for local authorities and schools.

"We have identified primary and secondary schools in Ribble Valley that want to join the scheme, and are in a position to support them in finding and funding their own food gardens."

Over 20 Ribble Valley primary and secondary schools are to receive between £2,000 and £5,000 from the council over the coming months for the establishment of food gardens.

    Food rationing came into force in January 1940 and onions became so rare that they were given as birthday presents, or raffle prizes
    At the start of the war there were 3.5million private gardens and 819,000 allotments in England, but by 1943 the number had risen to five million and 1,675,000 respectively
    During the Dig for Victory campaign, gardening became part of the national curriculum in schools
    Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret were photographed digging and pushing wheelbarrows
    Vegetables were grown alongside the runway at Manchester Airport and in the dry moat around the Tower of London
    Studies show that children who garden have a better attitude towards education and are more likely to eat their greens
    Gardening for just 30 minutes a day can strengthen joints, decrease blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and slow osteoporosis

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