Custom Food Lab are working in partnership with Martello Primary to transform a new growing space from scrub land to a fully functioning safe outdoor learning and community food growing space. Custom Food Lab’s “Locavore Garden Leader” Gini Mitchell has designed a garden in four sections – the forest garden (with covered area for outdoor learning and community activities), sensory garden, wildlife pond area and a section of 8 raised beds including a wheelchair accessible bed. Future plans include an area of permaculture allotments, that will be available to members of the community and a programme of artists residencies.

Martello Primary head teacher Wayne Beech says: “Community is at the heart of Martello, you will hear our staff and children frequently stating that Martello is a family. We accept, we support and we nurture. So it is with immense pride and excitement that we are building a community focused collaboration with Custom Food Lab.

The world has been a strange place as of late, in some ways distancing has brought us closer together and helped us all to appreciate each other a little more. The Locavore Garden will be the embodiment of these values, a place to work, play and learn together and maintain the true meaning of community.”

The project will be delivered using a holistic permaculture framework based around forest gardening techniques – an ecological design system which cooperates with nature and creates sustainable ways of living. Over the coming months, staff will receive training to deliver forest and wild beach school sessions in the Locavore Garden and nearby, which can then be offered to local families and school students, to allow children the time and space to develop skills, interest and understanding through a range of activities which provide practical, hands-on experiences in a natural environment. There will also be opportunities for volunteers from outside the school to get involved in gardening groups, free training programmes and other community activities.

Locavore Garden Leader, Gini Mitchell, says “It is an exciting time to bring transformation to an unloved area of land with views of the Warren and surrounding hills. This will provide home grown fruit, vegetables and pollinator attracting plants. It will encourage nature and wildlife. And will provide a hub-space to host accessible sensory and nature study facilities for the school and local community. It has been a dream of mine to get this project underway, and thanks to a great team, the vision can finally come true.”

Custom Food Lab are committed to ensuring that the Locavore Garden can be used by every member of the community. Funding has been allocated to make the garden spaces fully accessible, with raised beds, paths that are wheelchair friendly and sensory areas, designed with the purpose of stimulating the senses.

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