Schoolchildren sow the seeds of a bumper charity harvest

Pupils, left to right: Isabella Jeffrey, Phoebe Hoggon, Lewis Mason and Matthew Alsop.'Adults: Emily Cookson, Lisa Elliott and Chris Menzies.
Pupils, left to right: Isabella Jeffrey, Phoebe Hoggon, Lewis Mason and Matthew Alsop.'Adults: Emily Cookson, Lisa Elliott and Chris Menzies.

GREEN-FINGERED pupils have donated a bumper harvest to charity after tending their own vegetable plot.

About 25 children from Morpeth’s Chantry Middle School have taken part in the gardening project at the Meldon Park estate over the past four months after owners Emily and James Cookson invited the youngsters to take over a spare piece of land, and even provided seeds and equipment.

Every Friday afternoon groups of Year 8 pupils could be found sowing, planting, weeding and watering under the guidance of teacher Lisa Elliott.

And as a result, they were able to gather a substantial crop of potatoes, rocket, beetroot, spring onions, radishes, lettuce and strawberries.

The produce was handed over to Morpeth charity Barnabas Safe and Sound, which helps young people in housing crisis, and it will be used in cookery classes to teach service users how to become more independent.

Mrs Cookson said: “We have the Kitchen Garden Cafe so we thought this was a great way of educating pupils about healthy eating and introducing them to fresh produce at a young age.

“It also gave them a great opportunity to be active outdoors in the fresh air and the children really seem to have enjoyed coming up here to work on the garden.

“We’re thrilled that Barnabas Safe and Sound, a hugely important charity that does so much vital work for homeless young people in Morpeth, will benefit from this project.”

Miss Elliott added: “Some 25 children have taken part in the Meldon Park project this year and every one of them has thoroughly enjoyed their time at the vegetable patch.

“In stunning surroundings our pupils have learnt about planning a project, growing crops and food miles, as well as practical maths and science.

“Pupils have grown all sorts of fruit and veg, including little gem and lollo rosso lettuces, fennel, radishes and potatoes, and they were very excited to pull them up when they were ready.

“We are really pleased that the vegetables will be put to good use by Barnabas Safe and Sound to help local young people learn how to cook healthy meals for themselves.”

Barnabas Chief Executive Chris Menzies welcomed the donation and said it would be put to good use.

“We are delighted with the harvest produced by the children from Chantry and they should be very proud of themselves for what they have achieved,” he said. “It was a fantastic project to be involved in and we would like to thank Meldon Park for making it possible. This will help us an enormous amount in educating young people we help in healthy eating and how to budget for food.” In addition to the Kitchen Garden Cafe, Meldon Park’s gardens are open to the public.