Children at Birch C of E Primary School have been enjoying sharing the limelight, after one of their fellow pupils won an incredible competition, when BBC Countryfile visited.
Emily a year 6 pupil, was one of over 1500 children from primary schools across Essex who entered the 'Packed Lunch Plot' competition run by the RCCE's 'Edible Essex' project in collaboration with the Royal Horticultural Society campaign for school gardening. Youngsters were invited to design a metre square vegetable plot to grow the ingredients for a healthy packed lunch. Emily's plot included sugar snap peas, rocket, little gem lettuce, Tiny Tim tomatoes and pot marigolds to create a 'Summer Sunshine' pasta salad and a lavender plant to make lavender cupcakes. She had chosen to include edible flowers in her plot design to attact bees for pollination and pest eating insects such as ladybirds. Prizes for the school included £1000 to spend on gardening equipment, £50 in national gardening vouchers, a class trip Hyde Hall to plant her plot, a class trip to 'Can Cook Will Cook' kitchen Ashlyns Organics and professional development courses with the RHS for teaching staff.
BBC Countryfile spent the day filming at school. Matt Baker, one of the shows presenters, met Emily and helped her make her packed lunch idea. Other Birch pupils, who were awarded Highly Commended certificates for their entries to the competition, shared some of their gardening tips with Matt and teaching assistant Sadie Broad demonstarted the importance of a school garden and how activities can enrich the curriculum.
With the prize money a polytunnel was bought which will enable the garden to be used in all weathers.