Students plant seeds and smiles

Young people at West Suffolk College have been busy using their green fingers to create an edible garden and a garden at a day care centre.

The new garden full of fresh herbs and edible flowers has been created by catering students right outside the Edmunds restaurant door. A team from the Prince’s Trust have planted a vegetable patch, flowerbed and painted fences and a shed, vastly improving the garden at Glastonbury Court Day Care Centre.

The Edmunds kitchen garden features more than 340 herbs and flowers, supplied by Norfolk Herbs, in nine raised beds filled with top soil and mushroom compost and will be used by catering students as the freshest possible additions to their kitchen creations.

The plants include green and purple basil, oregano, globe artichoke, calendulas, edible violas, chives, bay trees, silver thyme, purple sage, rhubarb, sorrel, rosemary, lavender, tomatoes and marjoram amongst others.

The project, supported by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and Bury in Bloom was designed by the students after a visit to Wyken Hall, where they met former West Suffolk College student Sam Sturman, who shared dishes created using herbs and produce from the estate. They were helped with design advice from Rebecca Davis, St Edmundsbury Council’s Horticultural Officer.

Alison Findlay, RHS Community Outreach Advisor, said she has been “really inspired” by the students, “with their chef heads on they saw the link between growing and making a difference to dishes.”

Student Jasmin Morley, 17, from Sudbury said: “I’d never done gardening before and didn’t know much, but it was really fun”.

Bradley Finbow, 16, from Stowmarket, commented: “It was better than I thought it would be, it was a good experience”.

Keagan Hughes, 17, from Thurston added: “I didn’t realise the variety of herbs, it will give us the experience of using fresh herbs”.

The garden is going to have a pathway through and a perimeter of espaliered apple trees added later.

Chef Lecturer Matt Goulding, said: “The finished garden looks great. It will be a valuable teaching resource for all of our future students. As a chef it is important to understand and appreciate the ingredients you work with in producing your dishes. It will help us address important issues such as traceability and suitability.”

Not only does it taste good, the garden will also be an attractive place for diners to sit.

Meanwhile, nine young people on a Prince’s Trust course worked hard renovating the garden at Glastonbury Court Day Care Centre.

The TEAM raised funds for their project by bag packing at Tesco, a bake sale and a raffle. They donated some of their money to Diabetes UK and the British Heart Foundation.

The young people then set about creating a vegetable patch, a flowerbed, painting the garden shed  blue and painting fences green.


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