Pop Up Farm scheme arrives in Burnley

Pupils at Wellfield Primary School in their new shed.'Photo Ben Parsons

Pupils at Wellfield Primary School in their new shed.'Photo Ben Parsons

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Hundreds of Burnley schoolchildren are helping create makeshift “farms” as part of a revolutionary green project.

Pupils from 35 schools in Burnley have joined thousands of other children across the world in the “Pop Up Farms” scheme.

Youngsters are learning about biodiversity, growing food and conserving water and energy under the global movement started by Incredible Edible founder Prof. Paul Clarke,

Each of the 35 primary schools has been given a “plotting shed”, donated by Asda, for children, teachers and the community to plan sustainable projects.

Schools have been given hundreds of pounds worth of seeds for growing carrots, beetroots, spring onions and many more vegetables.

Activities from beekeeping to planting orchards are also going on under the pioneering project.

Dawn Forshaw, headteacher at Wellfield Methodist and Anglican Church School which has embraced the Pop Up Farm idea, said: “It is all about growing food in urban areas and raising awareness of sustainability.

“Schools are at the heart of urban communities that are a good driver of the project.

“It is not people working in isolation, it is about bringing people together. Kids love to plant things, water them, watch them grow and then eat them.”

The schools are getting pupils to think globally but act locally on a range of green issues.

Mrs Forshaw said: “We wanted to look at what an impact we in the West are having on the world. It is a massive impact.

“It is about raising awareness and finding solutions of how this can be reduced. We are taking the global-local perspective.”

The idea hastaken root in Burnley and hopes are that it will spread across the country and beyond.

Mrs Forshaw said: “Paul works around the world and there are now Pop Up Farm schools in Australia, Hong Kong, Canada and China. We link with these schools through the Pop Up Farms website and share ideas.

“In Burnley we are the people who really wanted to get this going. Through our network of heads all the headteachers have been so enthusiastic about getting involved. It has been unbelievable.

“The next phase is to get other schools around the country involved.”