From Schools

Eco Day Planting Workshop

We were recently invited to facilitate planting workshops with local Primary 5 and Primary 6 classes to fit in with their Eco Day.

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After a bit of a lesson from Charles about what a seed actually is and why it is that way, we launched into an investigation of Seed Identification!

Seeds can be deceptive, but all teams passed with flying colours. The game fuelled some interesting discussion around seed characteristics and how differences in seeds lead to different characteristics once they grow into plants.

Then we moved on to the planting! Students could choose between cress, spinach, or mixed greens and were taken through the planting, care, and maintenance of their plants.

We’re pleased to report that, much to the excitement of the students involved, seeds began sprouting the next week! Each student was able to take home their planted pots to share with their family along with recipe ideas to cook up their healthy treats once the time comes. We also planted several classroom systems so the students could continue to stretch their green thumbs during the school day.

Aquaponics at Oakgrove

A couple of weeks ago we installed our first classroom system in Oakgrove Primary – and a great day was had by all! We’ve been developing our lesson plans over the past year, and have come up with a collection of engaging and fun lessons that range from examining the system’s bacteria under microscopes to putting on a play that allows the students to explore the delicate relationships that are essential for the aquaponics ecosystem to thrive. All of the lessons link directly into the Curriculum for Excellence, providing teachers with a dynamic classroom tool.

guide and ystem

We also spent the summer designing a classroom-friendly aquaponics system that features an easy to use and maintain flood/drain system. This particular tank was stocked with 2 goldfish and a selection of edible plants including lettuce, chives, nasturtium, mint, and a pineapple sage plant – looks like sage, smells like pineapple, great in salads!

system 2                   top view

We spent the morning discussing where and how food can be grown, the aquaponics cycle, and how to care for the aquaponics system. The students also put on a play comparing the journeys of a locally grown organic apple and an imported commercially grown one – a highlight of the day for several students!

tale of two apples tale of two apples 3

The class will now look after the aquaponics system, including its two resident goldfish. We’ll check back in with the school periodically to see how they’re getting on, but based on the enthusiasm of the students we reckon the system is in good hands!

                               sinead 2   future food 2

future food

Eco Day!

We recently went out to a primary school just outside of Glasgow to talk about local growing and urban food with the Primary 6s. What a blast! We had a great time, and it looks like the students did too. We did a lot of group-based discussions around how and where food is grown, and covered topics from allotments to rooftop gardens to indoor growing (and of course aquaponics!)

We had a special presentation from the P7s that brought us through the two very different lifecycles of a standard store-bought tomato and a locally-grown organic tomato:

And everyone got to see (and smell!) first-hand some of the differences between them. Imagine the taste difference!

tomato smelling smelling tomatoes2

We were really impressed by the amount of knowledge the P6s already had about different ways to grow food: a lot of students had family members who grow food in their gardens, and some members of the Eco-committee expressed their interest in starting a school garden. We wanted all the students to take what they had learned home, so we did a self-watering planter out of upcycled plastic bottles (instructions can be found here).

bottle work smiley bottle

We were able to source some fantastic locally-grown chives from Urban Roots, and everyone got to plant and bring their own chives home, along with care instructions and a recipe card. We’ll be expecting lots of chive-topped baked potatoes in the coming months!

A great day was had by all, and we’re already looking forward to returning in the Autumn to install a classroom-based aquaponics system!

glasses