Mr Toad wasn’t the only one with green fingers on last Thursday, when the primary schools of Henley visited Mr McGregor’s Garden at the River and Rowing Museum. The four schools – Badgemore, Sacred Heart, Trinity and Valley Road – soaked up the sunny weather as they planted their vegetable crops. The food harvested from their patches will be donated to One Can Trust food bank.
The children have been growing their crops at school before their introduction to the River and Rowing Museum’s garden. Each school was given a different vegetable, providing plenty of variety for the lucky recipients. Sacred Heart are growing lettuce; Valley Road tended carrots; Badgemore are getting gassy with various types of beans; and Trinity have an ambitious three vegetables – cabbage, peas and radishes! To detail their produce, the students made posters with illustrations and poems. These were printed on large wooden boards and placed by their flowerbeds to decorate the garden.
The beneficiaries of the harvest, the One Can Trust, distribute food parcels to people in need in the local area. Now in their seventh year, they serve a large area of Buckinghamshire (including High Wycombe and Marlow), having provided emergency help to well over 20,000 adults and children. The 350 parcels handed out each month can feed an individual or an entire family in crisis. Steph Clay, the project manager for One Can Trust, was invited to see the Henley Primary Schools’ donations take root, and was hugely grateful for their efforts. “I think it’s wonderful because I think they want to have someone to hand the vegetables to at the end, and we know the people who use the parcels will really value them,” she commented. “It’s also good to get the kids engaged and thinking about where food goes.”
The value of their crops had not gone amiss, with the children remarking on how fulfilling they felt it was. Zara, 10 from Badgemore, humbly remarked, “It makes me feel really happy because instead of people starving, they have food thanks to the One Can Trust.” Another Badgemore student, Tom, 10, also expressed his satisfaction, saying that “growing beans to help people in need makes me happy.”
Of course, there’s still some growing to do before the delicious vegetables can be enjoyed. Visit Mr McGregor’s Garden, located in the River and Rowing Museum car park, to watch the plants develop.