Where Grandparent Gardening Week began
Ever wondered where Grandparent Gardening Week began?
Battling Brook primary school, Leicester, 2015.
“Part of the Food for Life Schools programme was getting schools to garden. But there was a lack of confidence, knowledge and time to set up the garden – this was feedback from teachers. Getting parents in wouldn’t be possible due to work schedules. So we came up with an alternative solution. One school had a grandparent supporting the gardening already, and we saw this and decided this should be the norm,” says Raksha Mistry, whose idea sparked Grandparent Gardening Week events in schools across the country.
There was also unexpected feedback from the grandparents, with one grandma saying “Usually, we’re invited to come to school events when parents can’t make it, so it was nice to be first choice rather than a back-up. It made us feel special.” We realised how powerful intergenerational work could be.
Five years on, 90 grandparents are expected to turn up at Battling Brook and dig in.
It’s about more than gardening. There will be cooking activities too, and most important of all, pupils have the chance to spend valuable time with older people. Some children don’t have grandparents living close by and enjoy spending time with the older people that come along.
Activities will include planting bulbs that will bloom and become decorations, weeding and rhubarb picking. The cooking group will prepare fruit crumble using frozen berries from last years’ harvest and, of course, that fresh rhubarb.
The grandparents and children can take a crumble home to enjoy at the end of the day, but not before a well-earned cup of tea and a snack – a chance to sit down and have a chat after a busy day in the garden.
Katie Pickering, a teacher who is one of the driving forces behind Grandparent Gardening Week, says “It is always so lovely to see happy faces all round. Grandparents are excited to show off their expertise and the children want to show grandparents around our garden. Giving them this time together is so important.
They always take a bean plant home and look after. Some grandparents have then cooked with their grandchild using the beans!”
Katie's top tip is to ask the PTFA to come in and help with serving tea and coffee.
This Grandparent Gardening Week was planned before the Covid-19 pandemic happened and social distancing rules were put in place.
Feeling inspired? Organise a Get Together activity in your community today.