Students offered a GCSE in fruit and vegetables with environmental and land-based science GCSE

Filed in Blog by on September 26, 2008 11 Comments
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polytunnelI read in our local paper today that students from one of our Community Schools are able to study fruit and veg, under the environmental and land-based science GCSE!

They have been donated a polytunnel from our local  Transition network so that they can grow crops all year round. School governors, staff and pupils worked the land over the holidays to get it ready for the course.

In a world where vegetables arrive in plastic bags, spotless and uniform in shape this is wonderful. My friend Peter discovered that when he invited young people in for a chip meal, they were astonished to find that chips came from potatoes…

Anything that helps raise awareness about local produce, where things come from and how long they take to grow gets my vote.

I feel that if people grew more of their own things there would be less food waste. Not because you need to buy less, but because you begin to understand how long it takes to get something from seed to plate.

When you can pick it up in plastic 365 days a year and it’s been shipped from the other side of the world, we have an ‘easy come easy go’ mentality about it.

When you’ve watered the seed, pulled away weeds that threaten to kill the plants, kept pests at bay, marvelled at the growing process and seen that it can take months to grow something, you develop more of a reverence and respect for the food you eat.

If you actually *care* for something and care *about* something, then the chances of wasting it are less…….

I hope this course is popular and that students gain a great understanding about the natural world. Once harvested, some of the vegetables will be sent home with the pupils while the rest will be served up to hungry diners in the school canteen.

Who doesn’t love to give away some of their home grown produce? It’s a wonderful way to keep the community spirit thriving. Often, in our row of houses, you’ll find produce left outside your front door by an anonymous benefactor! This year we’ve had runner beans, beetroot and chard gifted to us, while we have shared potatoes, tomatoes and courgettes.

The school eventually hopes to offer an A-level in the subject and will be setting up after-school clubs.

Let’s hope that cooking with the produce is part of the curriculum too so that tomorrow’s adults don’t need to resort to TV meals in a plastic tray like many adults do at the moment!

Finally, I’d just like to offer my congratulations to Peter. I had an email from him last night sharing that he was voted runner up in the Christian Blog Awards for Most Green (environmental) Website. He sent  lovely photo of himself receiving the award at the beautiful building of St Stephen Walbrook in London.

Well done Peter for continuing to spread the message about green living; you’re doing a wonderful job. Every compassionate voice across the globe is making a very real difference to our future world.


About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (11)

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  1. Hi Mrs Green,

    Showing the younger generation the value of growing their own fruit/veg is a winner. Giving a qualification is even better since it is a useful addition to science subjects.

    I hope they can give us home growers some tips.

  2. I grow loads in my garden, and both kids grow things as well. They each have their own patch and they can grow what they like in that, and they help with the bigger veg beds too.

    Then when we over crop on things, as often happens, we swap with a friend who grows different things.

  3. Mrs Green says:

    John, I was so pleased to hear about this qualification. It nearly makes sending LMG to school seem like a good idea 😀

    Sarah, LMG has determined that she is taking sole responsibility for the garden next year. We shall see; I can’t keep on top of it, but I bet she can if she puts her mind to it!

  4. Mrs Green, I am sorry that school is not a preferred choice for the young one. Personally, I enjoyed school but was glad to leave it behind because I regarded it as merely a means to an end. When I left, I did not look back.

    Children learning about gardening, whether in school or at home, is excellent since they will be able to use these skills in adulthood.

  5. Mrs Green says:

    Hi John,
    We remain open minded about school and if LMG ever wants to go back, then she can. We looked at a school recently, but it didn’t gel with us. We just take each day at a time. I remember pretty much loving school too, but it’s not for everyone.
    Fortunately, LMG has the opportunity to learn about gardening here and next year I’d like to step that up with her. This year we lost our garden to weeds, but there is always another year 🙂

  6. Hi Mrs Green,

    Hopefully, some school/college experience will be a help.

    As for gardens, a new year is a new opportunity and with extra hands you can probably do more. My soil is clay and weed friendly but making raised beds can make a huge difference.

  7. Mrs Green says:

    John, we too have (acid) clay soil and lots of weeds – notably horsetail and bindweed. So gardening is not a pleasure as I feel I only turn my back and new weeds grow.
    On the flip side, the soil is incredibly fertile, but it’s no good for carrots or salady things. Potatoes, beans and courgettes fair well – big things I can find among the weeds 😉
    Sarah made a suggestion for growing carrots a while ago that I will try, But both us and our neighbours have tried three times with no success.

  8. The Baglady says:

    Mrs Green! fantastic news. As Baglady, I’ve travelled ASAP [As SUSTAINABLY as possible] to visit 150 schools in Northern Ireland, one in Oxford and one in Australia [before I came back to Ireland]

    I’m forging links between environment and education and I’m taking the story to our politicians.

    Our kids are brilliant; but hungry [get it!!] maybe starving, for:
    1] information that they NEED for their future
    2] a release from 6hrsX5daysX40wksX12/13yrs of sitting in rows, and
    3] some sign ANY sign that adults appreciate the problem as much as they do and are willing to change our wasty lifestyle to

    On more recent visits [mainly 2007] I started asking children to tell me one word for how they feel about the rubbish state of our environment: their average age would be about 10 and their words have been: sad, ashamed, disgraced, awful, worried, angry….

    Is this OK? Michael Meacher told me ‘governments are always the last to act’. Time to move them on and get Genuine Green Guys in? Love from Baglady

  9. Mrs Green says:

    Hi Baglady,
    A warm welcome to you; now I feel all start struck again; what with you, Mrs A and the lovely Tracey Smith I’m drowning in famous people who I admire 😀

    The words you used bought tears to my eyes. No child of the age of ten should feel worried or sad about the state of their environment.

    When I hear politicians stating that a weekly rubbish collection is our ‘birthright’ I feel like shaking them and saying that a birthright is access to a safe and healthy environment where children can grow up without a care………..

  10. The Baglady says:

    Gday Mrs Green. Yeah, we’re all famous for something. Thank goodness you’re there, speakin out. That’s what we’ve all got to do now.

    Yes come on, shake a politician with BL and Mrs G…….. OR better still: do you think we should start a list of politicians who DON”t think that way, and get their names and pictures up in glowing green lights!

    I have a dragonfly in my bedroom window facing south-east, it lights up most days to remind me, there’s a lot of solar energy around. Let’s have fun while we’re doing this, that way it’ll catch on, Love from Baglady

  11. Mrs Green says:

    Baglady; you have a mischievous streak in you – you remind me of a fairy 🙂
    But you’re right; it’s important to retain a big, buxom, bosomy sense of humour while we deal with the serious issue of maintaining our beautiful world.

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