Todmorden aqua gardens show first green shoots

The BTEC group with teacher Jo Hutchison

The BTEC group with teacher Jo Hutchison

First published in News Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by , Chief reporter

THE first green shoots are being seen in a cutting-edge £544,000 venture between environmentalists and a high school near the Lancashire-Yorkshire border.

Initial signs of life have been reported within the confines of the Incredible Aqua Garden, a partnership between Incredible Edible Todmorden and the town’s high school.

Schools are being urged to focus on what they are offering children to eat – and the garden’s supporters say there is no better example than an aquaponics system which uses mineral-rich water to grow crops.

Students on the school’s BTEC agricultural and horticultural course are among the first to benefit from the enterprise, which also offers hydroponics and traditional soil-based growing.

But while biology, physics and chemistry classes can be incorporated into the learning experience, eventually it is hoped that English, maths and arts lessons can be served.

Aine Douglas, the garden’s learning co-ordinator, said: “Schools have to really focus on what they are offering their children to eat.

“Dining halls will have to be welcoming with better, nutritious food and staff eating with the pupils in a friendlier area.

“Here we not only consider food as a topic in its own right but we work with teachers to find out how an educational visit to the aqua garden can consolidate the learning they have been doing across a range of different subjects.”

Last year, Incredible Edible was awarded £544,785 by the Big Lottery Fund to construct the garden and it opened in November.

The same centre has a hydroponics arm which concentrates on growing anything from tomatoes and beans to smaller herbs and salad crops.

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