Grandparent Gardening Week continues to grow
Grandparent Gardening Week burst into our calendars in 2015 with the aim to support the Food for Life Awards programme and the teachers leading cultural food change. These teachers wanted to enrich the curriculum and provide hands-on life experience of growing produce from seed that students would later cook with or take to the school kitchen for lunch. These experiences have the transformational effect of encouraging even the most reluctant children to eat fruit and veg.
Busy teachers and timetables meant that the help and wisdom of older members in the community was indispensable in making these changes within schools.
Inspired by volunteer grandparent John Welford, who offered time to support the school garden at Battling Brook Primary whilst his nine grandchildren all attended, Food for Life in Leicestershire, funded by Leicestershire County Council, recognised the role of grandparents could play in school life. Over 200 grandparents took part in the first ever Grandparent Gardening Week, and it has grown exponentially since then.
John Welford says:
“We used to see [our grandson] three times a week, but since he started school we don’t have the chance as we used to. It’s great having an event where we can see him, and [an event] that is dedicated for grandparents and we are not the fill-in for parents.”
It wasn’t long before Grandparent Gardening Week became a national event and the number of older people involved in school gardening grew. Many brought surplus tools and some even donated seedlings and soil to help the children throughout the year. The schools thanked the grandparents with warm bowls of soup, school baked bread and lots of tea and fruit.
Grandparent Gardening Week was a seedbed for Food for Life Get Togethers, bringing intergenerational communities together through food, an approach the National Lottery Community commissioned Food for Life to build and champion. From local beginnings in Leicestershire, Grandparent Gardening Week has grown to become part of the national campaign Plant and Share Month which celebrates the joy of gardening with communities across Britain.