Academy Tower Gardens - Growing a Greener Future
Eco teams and Eco Champions at two of our academies, Oasis Academy Temple in Manchester, and Oasis Academy Blakenhale in the Midlands, have recently introduced 'Tower Gardens' into academy life. These interesting looking structures are an indoor and soil-free way to grow foods like salad leaves, chard and tomatoes, all whilst helping pupils to learn about healthy eating and sustainable growing methods linked to the global goals.
The towers are located within the academy premises, so that pupils and staff can see the growth progress everyday. The towers use a small amount of water and light (via LEDs) to grow crops three times quicker than traditional soil-grown plants. Although this is quite a unique growing method, pupils are being taught to learn that growing plants this way, could become a lot more common in the future, as more food in less space will be required to keep up with growing populations and adapting to climate change. Eco teams, with the help of their Eco Champion member of staff at both of the academies, sowed their first seeds around the Christmas period by transplanting these into the towers. They have carefully looked after their gardens and have been able to harvest their first crop!
The 'Tower Gardens' initiative is the brainchild of 'ReThink Futures,' and have been supplied to Oasis through our catering partner, Sodexo. There are posters around both of the academy canteen counters and staff are encouraging the children to try the produce. Since the crops have grown, the pupils have been able to eat the fruits of their labour, as Sodexo use the fresh produce in their lunchtime menus. Research shows children that grow their own food are five times more likely to eat it and with 95% of children not eating enough fresh produce, you can’t get much fresher than that!
Oasis Academy Blakenhale's Eco team said: "We feel grateful because a lot of schools don’t have a Tower Garden. It is important that we have one because we can grow our own food. We look after it by making sure that we put water in it when it is low on water. We will give them to the kitchen and then hopefully donate the rest."
"It is important because we all need to be healthy."