Edible Playgrounds is a project led by Trees for Cities with the aim to provide schools in urban areas the opportunity to grow food in their playgrounds. The project is set to lauch at the playground at the Palmer Academy in Reading today.
X Factor Finalist Danyl Johnson will officially open the Edible Playground. Michelin star chef Dominic Chapman, who has recently adopted the school to deliver food education and cooking sessions to pupils, will also be joining the celebration. Governors, parents, children, schools, local residents, and the local community will be attending the opening and exploring the garden.
Players of People's Postcode Lottery have awarded Trees for Cities and its partners, Chefs Adopt a School and School Food Matters, nearly £250,000 from the Dream Fund to create ten Edible Playgrounds over two years in schools across the UK. Palmer Academy was one of the lucky ten schools to receive funding.
Over the last 10 years, Trees for Cities and its partners have been working in partnership with the Palmer Academy to educate children about the importance of growing, cooking, and eating healthy food.
Clara Govier, Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, said, "We are delighted that the £249,180 in funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery is allowing Edible Playgrounds to launch across the country. We are delighted to be supporting such an excellent project."
The children at the Palmer Academy have been growing a phenomenal crop of lettuce, peas, carrots, and more. The Edible Playground has raised beds for growing vegetables, a fruit garden, an orchard and a greenhouse. The children also have compost bins and a wormery to learn about composting and the nutrient cycle.
Dom Prendergast, Head Teacher at the Palmer Academy said, "Children in city areas often have limited opportunities to learn and play in natural environments, so we are excited that our Edible Playground will provide children and the local Reading community the opportunity to grow, cook and eat healthy food."
David Elliott, Chief Executive of Trees for Cities said, "Our Edible Playground community is growing across the country and teaches pupils that nutrition and healthy food can be an easy choice in, and out of, school.
"Edible Playgrounds are part of our overall vision to plant trees and green communities in cities, revitalising these areas and improving the lives of the people that live in them."
Trees for Cities has been working in schools to plant fruit and nut trees since 2000 and the first Edible Playground was created in 2003. There are currently over 30 Edible Playgrounds in the UK with a further 40 to be introduced over the next three years.
The project has also been supported by Dobbies Garden Centre, who kindly donated tools.