Growing your own fruit and vegetables can be beneficial in many ways. It can provide cheap and healthy food for you and your family. It can be an enjoyable excuse to get outside and be active, helping to make you fitter and happier. Often, it can be a good way to meet people and chat in an informal environment. It can also get sometimes unlikely groups of people together with a common goals, and improve otherwise neglected areas of land. For children and young people it can be a good way to learn team work and co-operation. Gardens also soak up excess rainwater, cool hot urban areas and increase biodiversity.
Gardens in schools and community settings can be just as versatile as those anywhere else. Over the years we have been involved in making straightforward allotments, forest gardens, sensory gardens, wild flower meadows and wildlife gardens, frequently combining different elements to make the right garden for each setting. We try to make all our gardens attractive and elegant as well as productive.
Since 2007 we have worked on a range of projects with many schools both primary and secondary, some nurseries, two housing associations, a women’s refuge and an allotment project for carers of disabled children.
“Bees & Beans have worked with energy and enthusiasm to improve the school’s grounds and really bring growing to life for the children of the school. Their vision for the new Edible Forest means we now have an outdoor classroom, fully accessible vegetable patch, and will soon be reaping fresh fruit, herbs and vegetables from the beautiful new garden. Anna has a great relationship with the children, and has inspired the school on its new path to sustainability!”
Jonathan Cooper, Head teacher St. Luke’s Primary School
Years of experience has shown us that ownership is the key to successful gardening projects in school and community settings. With this in mind, we always work hard to put the wants and needs of the group we are working with first. We are there to help grass roots projects get off the ground or build further, not to drop our ideas in from outside.
We offer help obtaining funding, work closely with stakeholders in designing, building and developing viable spaces and offer training and orientation to groups to ensure the future success and growth of each project. We can help with curriculum development in schools to make sure these important resources are well used.
While birds chirp, engines thrum in exasperation
Serenity reigns, free of desolation or despair
in neatly arranged rows, plants glisten with possibility
A fragrant vibrancy surges through your senses
Death has no power in this forest of opportunity
only growth has taken rot here
In this garden, a garden of Eden
Yr 9 student, 2012-13
“Anna has been running the after school gardening club at St Bartholomew’s for several years. She has worked with children and parents to transform a neglected corner of the school grounds into a thriving garden which can now be used by all classes. The children love attending gardening club and have proudly eaten some of their own produce. Parents are very supportive and often join in with the gardening sessions. Anna has a lovely manner with the children and we really enjoy working with her”
Amanda Healey, Headteacher, St Bartholomew’s CE Primary School, Brighton.