Meridian High School is one of just three schools in Croydon, who have been developing an ‘Edible Playground’ over the last year as part of an exciting new approach to healthy eating and food education.
The Edible Playgrounds project is led by Trees for Cities and provides schools in urban areas with the opportunity to grow food in their playgrounds. Last year, in partnership with Trees for Cities, our school family saw the transformation of a disused outdoor space turn in to a beautiful Edible Playground. This garden area has raised beds full of vegetables and salad crops, a fruit tree orchard, a greenhouse and shed, a wormery and two teaching and learning spaces, all of which we share and work in together with the staff and students of Fairchildes Primary School.
We have a group of 20 student leaders who have the role of ‘Food Ambassadors’ at Meridian High School. It is their responsibility to select the crops they want to grow, plant, look after and finally harvest when they are ready. They are also responsible for the regular watering and weeding of the Edible Playground.
Last academic year and at the start of this school year, the ambassadors worked exceptionally hard and were very dedicated to learning new skills and developing their knowledge and understanding about gardening. Their hard work definitely paid off, as our salad bar in the school dining hall was packed with salad crops, all organically grown by our food ambassadors in the school’s Edible Playground. The students were thrilled to see their crops washed, prepared and ready to buy in the dining hall and our chef was also delighted with the quality of the produce given to him.
As we now quickly move in to the spring and summer terms, the ambassadors are getting the raised beds and greenhouse ready again to begin planting and sowing seeds. When asked how they envision the Edible Playground project moving forwards, our food ambassadors made the following comments:
- “I want to invite my family and other people in the community to come in to school so that we can teach them how to grow their own food and cook it in a healthy way”
- “I loved giving the food to the chef in our dining hall. It made me feel proud of what we have done and I can’t wait to carry on giving him more food to cook for us so that the staff and students can eat it”
- “I am looking forward to teaching other students about the Edible Playground and the work we do out there”
- “I want to sell our crops and turn our food growing in to a mini business so that everyone is eating produce grown by students at Meridian High School!”
We invite you to come and see for yourself the amazing work that our students have done and continue to do in the Edible Playground and indeed the great work that is happening in the whole school as part of our rapid improvement journey every day. Please do get in touch with us if you would like to organise a visit to our school. We look forward to welcoming you.