Edinburgh Community Food has teamed up with Veg Power UK to deliver a pilot project across Edinburgh to get children interested and learning all about growing food to eat #tomtastic

"There is nothing like seeing the miracle of a tiny seed emerge from the soil, grow, bloom and produce fresh food.  When you have grown once, you will want to grow for a lifetime.  Knowing how to grow food is not just amazing fun, it's also a life skill and one our children should not be without." Chris Collins

The project involves three stages:

  1. Planting the seeds! The seeds must be planted in springtime to allow them to germinate and grow into seedlings.
  2. Caring for seedlings and repotting ūüĆĪ Young seedlings are very delicate and need care and attention. Once they’re bigger and stronger, they can be re-potted into a larger container, we will reuse what we can, for example, a plastic milk jug or a large yogurt pot. The tomato plants should produce flowers which will turn into cherry tomatoes.
  3. Once we have grown our cherry tomatoes, we’re going to cook them into a delicious pasta sauce!

Learning all about how we grow food is not just good for children in terms of encouraging healthy eating, it’s important to develop their understanding of the food chain, sustainability and our environment. Children learn by getting stuck in and getting their hands dirty! Getting involved in growing projects is ideal for their development.

Most of our children are not eating enough vegetables – we want to work towards changing this.

Project Launch

We were thrilled to be invited to Jock Tamson's Gairden to launch the project with a P6 class from Parson's Green Primary who were sowing their tomato seeds and getting an expert lesson from the fabulous Lizz Spence.

Watch the Edinburgh Evening News coverage of the launch here. 

  

  

Aims and Learning Opportunities

Schools and Families  

In May, 38 Edinburgh Primary Schools received grow packs including propagators, seeds and compost sponsored by Unwins.  Each child planted their tomato seeds in school and will take their seedlings home to care for over the summer break.  Each child also received a Grow Strong wall chart with QR codes and access to the Tomtastic Website to help them grow their tomato plants and learn more about related topics such as seed germination, tomato growing in space and food waste.

Former Blue Peter gardener, Chris Collins will be joining in the fun, growing his own tomato plant and has plenty of tips and vlogs to help guide the little growers and their grow-up helpers.  

Repotting the tomato plants

Edinburgh Community Food had great fun helping the Primary 2 class at Liberton Primary School repot their tomato plants. We used old drinks bottles, yoghurt tubs and milk jugs as pots.  This part of the growing process helps children learn skills, patience and responsibility. Opportunities like this provide interaction with food which further encourages them to eat a larger variety of food. The children will now take their tomato plants home to care for them over the summer holidays!

You can read about our morning at Liberton Primary School here.

 

Watch what we got up to here:

At the start of the new school term in August, the tomatoes will be harvested and everyone will cook a tomato pasta sauce with their produce, together in the school.  The children will have the opportunity to recycle a jar or container and design their own label for the sauce too. 

All the families benefitting from our pioneering Discover! project, in collaboration with City of Edinburgh Council, have received grow packs too and already sown their tomato seeds.  We will be following their progress throughout the summer and look forward seeing how the children get on.

   

  

Community Gardens

Thanks to Edible Estates and Westerhailes Growing Communities there will be "Tomato Plant Surgeries" throughout the Summer School Holidays where children and families can drop in for help to plant up, feed and if necessary, replace a plant. These will be held:

Broomhouse Community Garden

Where: Look out for the beautiful mural at Broomhouse Market - to the left at the bottom of the lane you'll find the community garden.

Community gardener Steve Pike will be on hand to help with any tomato plant questions or worries

When? Every Wednesday except 13 July between 1pm and 2pm 

Murrayburn and Hailesland Community Garden

Where: head to Murrayburn Grove then follow the path on the left at the top of the car park for the community garden

Community gardener Steve Pike will be on hand to help with any tomato plant questions or worries

When? Every Thursday between 11am and 12pm 

Grow 2 Eat @ Leith Walk Policebox

Thursday 11th August 12-4pm 

DIY and upcycled planters. Plus free edible plants & seeds.  Grow food without a garden.  Free all welcome drop in. 

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Harvest Festival September 11th, 12-4pm

Lots of activities for all ages based around vegetable growing.

Saughton Gardens Autumn Show

4th September 10-4pm

The Caley (Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society) and The Edinburgh Allotments Federation (FEDAGA) are holding a free event on the at Saughton Gardens to celebrate growing.  There will be a flower show in McHattie room and stalls on the grass near the cafe.

Watch this space for more Grow Strong updates. 

Share your Tomato Adventure #TOMTASTIC