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Pupils from Lynn Primary School taking part in the ever popular Schools Growing Club initiative.
Pupils from Lynn Primary School taking part in the ever popular Schools Growing Club initiative.

Press release -

Pupils ‘growing their own’ in school!

Three local schools across the Borough are benefitting from delicious fruit and veg from the school menu to their plate – thanks to the ever-popular ‘Schools Growing Club’ initiative.

Kirkinriola Primary, Ballymena, Oakfield Primary, Carrickfergus and Linn Primary School Larne took part in the Schools Growing Club Programme which consists of 6 sessions where Council helped the school to create or improve their growing area, build structures such as raised beds, a composter and sweat pea structures and finally plan, sow, tend and harvest a range of fruit and vegetables.

Children also learned about re-using and recycling when we made planters and bird feeders using recycled milk bottles. The 3 schools also received a useful Schools Growing Club Starter Kit including tools, compost and seeds. Now that all the Growing Club sessions are finished, the schools will continue to put their new knowledge into practice and work on growing, tending and harvesting in their school gardens.

The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Alderman Noel Williams, said: “The Schools Growing Club programme encourages pupils and teachers in Mid and East Antrim to make use of their outdoor space and grow their own fruit and vegetables. The Schools Growing Club will also help pupils to ‘Garden for Wildlife’, use companion planting for pest control and learn to appreciate and try new herbs, fruits and vegetables.

“This has been a great opportunity for schools to promote healthier eating and drinking as well as a deeper understanding of sustainable food issues. Pupils and teachers are inspired to work together in their outside space, learn gardening skills for life and learn to take care of their local wildlife and environment. We would hope to see schools who took part benefitting through healthier and happier children spending more of their time outside and experimenting with their home grown fruit and veg.

“The programme can also contribute to eco schools and green flag criteria so I would encourage all schools involved in this fantastic opportunity to keep up the Growing Clubs.”

Vicky Logan, teacher at Oakfield Primary School, said: ‘It is often said, "The environment is a common heritage of mankind!’

"The gardening project has aroused the pupil's awareness and curiosity and provided them with an interest in their local environment. It has been an important tool in encouraging awareness and an active participation in resolving environmental problems. The gardening project has provided an interactive environment that has changed pupil’s perceptions and vegetable intake.

Elyse said: "I really loved gardening and watching the plants grow every week. My favourite part was getting to try each type of herb." 

Ryan said: "I loved doing gardening. My favourite part was building the composter, flower beds and planting the baby carrots. I thought tasting all the herbs was fun and the mint was my favourite." 

Evie added: "I really enjoyed the gardening. It relaxed me being out in the fresh air and having fun. I loved trying out the radishes, baby carrots and herbs. I loved bringing home what we planted and cooking with it. It has inspired me to grow more herbs and vegetables and also to be able to cook with them. It was an amazing experience!"

Sophie said: "I really enjoyed gardening. My favourite part was when I got to use the drill to build a planter. I also used some of the vegetables whenever I was cooking at home."

The children loved the Growing Club activities and said:

Brooke – I liked planting and picking the carrots, they were very tasty.

Maisey - I liked tasting the carrots.

Phoebe - I enjoyed smelling, tasting and planting the herbs.

Zach and Corey - we enjoyed making and drinking the mint water and tasting the herbs on crackers.

Kaitlin - I loved the mint water.

Oliver and James – we enjoyed building the raised beds and the composter. We got to use Chris' tools.

If you are interested in Growing Activities, please contact parks@midandeastantrim.gov.uk.

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Chris Kilpatrick

Chris Kilpatrick

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Deborah Cummings

Deborah Cummings

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Aisling Maguire

Aisling Maguire

Press contact Press Officer

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council's newsroom

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council is a multi-award winning local authority which leads the way in the transformation of ever-more efficient and improved public services for its 139,000 citizens.

The traditional engine room of the Northern Ireland economy, the borough has a proud manufacturing heritage, diverse and dynamic business community, and a rapidly expanding tourism and hospitality sector.

Mid & East Antrim Borough Council
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BT43 5EJ Ballymena