Custom Food Lab Locavore Garden

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Thank you for welcoming us and our community garden into the school! We are really excited to share our progress with you, and to invite you to get involved with the Locavore Garden in a whole load of ways from January.

As you have probably seen, we have been busy in the garden: We’ve built a pergola for outdoor learning and community events, raised beds (one for each year group, 2 for the community and a wheelchair accessible one), a tool shed and compost bins! The wheelchair accessible paths are being completed over the Christmas holidays to cause minimal disruption to the children as a LOT of gravel will be delivered and our fire pit, wildlife pond and polytunnel are underway too!

All classes have received a seedling pack to start plants off on classroom windowsills ready for them to plant in the garden in the Spring. Year 5 children have been undertaking a wonderful intergenerational exchange with our other garden space at Brampton Lodge care home, where they have sent each other letters and Christmas cards, and residents will be tuning into the streaming of the carol concert from the children!


From January 2021:

After school each day, the garden will be open for you to take a look around and enjoy the space with your child(ren), please do come and have a look. Sometimes our community food growers, Bean and Didier, will be on site with volunteers and can answer any questions you might have. We will also host an open day (within the current COVID regulations) where our staff and volunteers will happily show you around and tell you in more detail what we have planted, what our future plans for the garden are. All teachers are now able to use the gardens for lessons throughout the school day and we are working out a plan for a regular after school session when the evenings get a bit lighter.

We are over the moon to be working even more closely with Rachel from Holdfast Beach School to collaboratively offer forest school sessions for school children and the wider community, following on from the amazing work that Rachel has been doing with the SRT forest school group. We will be running an 8 week forest school for Parents and Under 5’s, beginning Monday 22nd February 10-12pm. This will run for 6 sessions before Easter and 2 afterwards and we’ll be offering a limited number of free spaces to Martello families. Booking opens in January.

Parents and carers are warmly invited to volunteer in the garden throughout the week - it’s great way to keep fit, feel grounded and connect with the land! Our community LGBTQIA+ gardening group (in collaboration with Folkestone Pride) will take place every Monday from 1-3pm and there are additional general community gardening slots available on Wednesdays 1-4pm and Thursdays 10-1pm. We will also consider running weekend sessions if we have enough interest - so let us know how you’d like to be involved!

Our community food grower Bean (who is also a sustainable building methods enthusiast) will be running a community build in the garden (dates are weather dependant). They will be working with Cob techniques to build a pizza oven. We are already dreaming of feasts in the summer months, when the children will be able to harvest the vegetables they’ve grown and cook up delicious food for their friends, family and community. The oven will also be the focus for community cooking sessions through the school holidays and at weekends. Bean will be running a number of community builds throughout 2021, so get in touch if you’d like to join their team.

Please let us know by dropping Char an email at Charlene@customfoodlab.org if you would like to join any of these activities. We have a full COVID policy in place and are working closely with the school on safeguarding and Health & Safety measures.