Enjoying the fruits of their labours

Cragside Church of England Primary (Cramlington) pupils who attended the Roots and Shoots event at Alnwick Garden. Picture by Jane Coltman
Cragside Church of England Primary (Cramlington) pupils who attended the Roots and Shoots event at Alnwick Garden. Picture by Jane Coltman

The old adage of reaping what you sow certainly rings true for a group of school children.

Nearly 200 youngsters have been harvesting their crops at The Alnwick Garden, the results of a six-month project.

Bothal Primary School, Ashington, at The Alnwick Garden. Picture by Jane Coltman

Bothal Primary School, Ashington, at The Alnwick Garden. Picture by Jane Coltman

Children from 10 schools, including Bothal Primary and Central Primary, from Ashington; Cragside Church of England Primary, Cramlington; and Cleasewell Hill School, Choppington, took part in the Roots and Shoots programme, developed by The Alnwick Garden Trust as an active partnership project with the 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.

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 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. 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.”

Central Primary School , Ashingto, pupils who attended the Roots and Shoots event at Alnwick Garden. Picture by Jane Coltman

Central Primary School , Ashingto, pupils who attended the Roots and Shoots event at Alnwick Garden. Picture by Jane Coltman

The project has been made possible via funding from the Shears Foundation.

Each school has built its own scarecrow to keep pests away from the vegetables, learnt the importance of preparing the soil and how to plant vegetables seeds into drill lines and even took part in healthy exercises after harvesting.

Dawn Willis, senior health trainer at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “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.”