Between now and Christmas I am lucky enough to be working in some primary schools in Manchester supporting the work of Manchester International Festival and its Biospheric Project. This is an innovative urban food project looking at food production and food security in urban communities through the creation of an urban farm in an old industrial building in Blackfriars, Salford. There are two different strands of work that I am doing in the schools:
- Firstly I am working with children who visited the Biospheric Project last summer to recap their learning and create an assembly to share this with the rest of the school.
- Secondly I am working with children who attend the assemblies to support them to think about food within their own community by developing plans for their own urban farm on their school site.
The project is a real pleasure as all of the children are so engaged by the idea of food growing in the city, and they all have brilliant ideas and responses. I have also particularly enjoyed using simple Permaculture design tools to take the children through a design process thinking about how they may make their school site more productive. What is particularly satisfying about this is how going through a simple site survey with them in a space that they are very familiar with allows them to observe the world around them in totally different ways. It has also been a great education for me thinking about the design processes that I use myself, and how to make them accessible to other people.
The notes above were written by one of the children at Marlborough Road Academy. It was brilliant to see what creative ideas they had and how excited they were by the idea of making their school site more productive. I look forward to seeing their final designs and to see which ideas they manage to implement in reality.