Farmer's school plot to plate project success

Published 05 August 2021

South East NFU Education
Produce farm shop_53790

A Surrey primary school has just completed its fourteenth year of growing vegetables on fields belonging to a neighbouring farmer.

Every year, the year three pupils of St Joseph’s Primary School, Dorking are given a 2m x 1 m plot by farmer Hugh Broom, of Sondes Place Farm. They grow a mixture of salad vegetables and wildflowers on their mini allotments.

Farmer Hugh Broom, a former chairman of Surrey NFU, said: “The children visit once a week during the summer term and walk the 600 metres from the school to tend to the plots. By the end of term, they’ve started to harvest what they have grown.

“Not only does this help teach the kids where the food comes from, it also helps them to understand the challenges involved in growing things, whether that is no rain, or, in the case of this year, too much rain!”

Mr Broom added: “I would encourage any farm within walking distance of a primary school to do this. From a farming perspective, once land has been ploughed and power-harrowed, the kids do all the work. It gives them so much educationally, with virtually no impact on your farm business.”  

Teacher Sue Taylor said: “We are so grateful to farmer Hugh Broom for his part in this project, and the children have all written individual thank you letters to him. The project felt extra special this year, giving the children a welcome opportunity to be outside and to do something together. As always, they have loved watching their plants and flowers grow and they have been coming back to school with armfuls of produce (and a few weeds as well, I think).” 

 Each year Tozer Seeds and Brights Seeds donate seeds for the project.

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