Participants in GROW programmes and activities are equipped with the skills, knowledge and confidence to make positive choices and changes in their lives and in the world around them. These activities include early support programmes; AQA courses; holiday, after-school & weekend clubs; school trips; and volunteering & training programmes.
GROW runs an agroecological farm and outdoor learning hub at The Totteridge Academy (TTA) in North London, which is at the heart of all of these activities, providing a practical and inspiring resource for everyone who visits. Through the partnership with TTA, GROW is creating a model for how schools & farms can work together to enhance learning and well-being, reach sustainability goals, and strengthen community.
All of GROW’s work is carried out from the point of view of agroecology. This means participants learning that everything in the world is connected and that they are a part of an ecosystem.
GROW programmes teach knowledge and skills in sustainable food growing and farming through approaches informed by mindfulness and forest school principles; which builds resilience, curiosity and community.
Useful learnings from GROW
The principles of Agroecology are about considering the impact of everything you do when farming, some key examples include:
- Putting education and co-creation of knowledge at the heart of GROW. Farmers and facilitators work with students, teachers, local community and volunteers to help shape the farm, making it more resilient and relevant.
- The farm is about all living things, humans included. GROW aims to protect and improve livelihoods and social wellbeing through its education and community programmes.
- Innovative agroecological practices produce more using fewer external resources. GROW tries to create as much of what is needed on the farm as possible so that it isn’t necessary to buy in. For example, leaf litter is taken from the school maintenance team and turned into compost. Vegetables are also sold to school families so that they don’t need to travel to buy their fresh produce.
- Diversity is important in plants AND people. In farming it is important to understand that nature loves diversity. A diverse range of crops are grown, and biodiversity is encouraged on the farm.
Find out more about agroecology on the GROW website by clicking the “Inspired? Find out more” link.
- Children and young people participating in programmes.
- Teachers and educational leaders taking part in GROW FUTURES programme
- School children attending trips to the farm.
- Children and young people attending after school, holiday and Saturday clubs.
- Families involved with GROW-COOK-SHARE project.
- GROW Box scheme sign ups.
- Volunteers participating.
- Apprentices signed up.