St Aloysius' Rooftop, Careers Day and St James School visit

I consider us all at the Skip Garden, now more than ever, as Urban Nomads. On a day to day basis we are quite used to movement – seeds are sown, plants grow, are potted up and moved on; children scurry in, are here for a few hours and then leave the garden in a near-silence; our kitchen team glide around the kitchen without ever bumping into one another, laughing and singing as they go. Movement is what we do.

But despite all this movement the recent relocation of the Skip Garden has conjured up a lot of new emotions. A child-like excitement builds up in me when I approach the new site each morning as I try to imagine all that has changed in the hours that I have not been there.  But I am followed by the feeling that I had the day that the skips themselves were removed from our old home – one that, for now, time has stopped. As the garden grows, as the new structures continue to climb upwards towards a completion and volunteers and visitors start to venture inside once again we are slowly getting back to normal.

This month I am thankful for the skilled gardeners at St Aloysius Junior School who have been growing a beautiful rooftop garden with me at their school – a garden away from home – and to the children and teaching staff from St James C of E Primary School who had a pioneering visit to the Skip Garden earlier this month...

Our frantic seed sowing before Easter has paid off and now our garden at St Aloysius is overflowing with broad beans, tomatoes, squash, courgettes, strawberries, potatoes, herbs and beetroot. In fact, so diligent are my Year 3 gardeners that we have grown enough stock to supply plants needed for another community project! What was an empty rooftop playgroup is now a vibrant vegetable patch. The Skip Garden move unearthed all sorts of treasures – a dented metal bin with peeling sunshine-yellow paint (perfect for our courgettes, I thought...), an ever-so-slightly rusted shopping basket (great, somewhere to hang our strawberries!), a recycling bin that’s lost its lid (we can recycle this for something, surely). The head teacher, Mr O’ Shea, has always been very supportive of the work that Global Generation does at St Aloysius and I was recently asked to take part in careers day. It was great to ask the children exactly what they think my job involves outside of the work we do together at school and to my happy surprise one young girl had come dressed in a beautiful flowery dress, sun-hat and wellington boots – she had come as a Gardener too.

It was with delight that we welcomed our first visiting school to the garden this month - the Year 5 students of St James School in Bermondsey. At first, it seemed like a slightly daunting mission – how do we accommodate 34 children on what is officially considered a building site? Will our classroom be finished in time? With a little reorganisation and negotiation from the UCL architecture students, we set about planning activities to mirror what the children are studying this term – gardening and water issues. On the day we ran a number of workshops spread across our new site that ranged from seed sowing, planting potatoes, learning about how plants filter water and using our creative skills to write poetry in the form of Kennings. The students were enthusiastic and gave the garden an energy that it has lacked since we moved – they have started the time rolling again by filling the garden with new buzzing ideas, a youthful happiness and the feeling that everything is back on track....