The GETNS Incredible Edible project is a whole school community project around our school garden. The idea was presented to the school and developed by parents Yann Seité and Brian Beckett supported by Principal Helen, the Board of Management, Parent Association Committee, Children School Committee and the Teacher’s body.
It is now organised around a group of volunteers made up of:
- Principal – Helen McClelland
- Teacher – Steven Lannon
- Yann Seité – Project Coordinator/ Garden maintenance
- Brian Beckett – Woodwork/ Garden maintenance
- Erin Kelly – Garden maintenance
- Sarah Bonaldi – Class workshops
- Catherine Dan – Sign Design
- Astrid Weidenhammer – Sign Design
- Tami Gaberz – Garden Committee
A core principle of this project is to be a community project so we need everyone in the school to take part even if you have just a few minutes to spare. Get in touch with us in the yard or through the school office. Ask your class teachers how you can help maintain your kids’ class vegetable patches. You don’t need to be an expert; every skill level can get involved in gardening tasks.
We aim to make our school a model for other schools or community to follow. We want to give our kids and the broader school community hands-on learning and show that it’s easy to take little steps that can bring about great changes in our environment and communities.
The school garden
To achieve our goal of growing enough vegetables for the entire school community, we had to overcome the challenge of limited space to grow crops. We had to think outside the box to be able to extend the garden in places that are safe for the kids to access.
Our solution was to make use of the school garden. We are slowly transforming an area alongside the school into what will become a permaculture vegetable garden. There, the kids can safely grow vegetables, among the trees, using an old traditional Moroccan cultivation system.
Finally, we are increasing the number of planters we make with recycled pallets. We will use them to protect several other areas from cars and vans parking on green areas and the cycle lanes next to the school. In the spring 2021, Brian finished a specially made planter for the SNA section of the school. We set it up in their protected yard and supplied them with vegetable seeds so the students can take part in the Incredible Edible project with their teachers and parents.
Our project goals
• Create a natural and strong sense of community around the school among parents, kids, staff and teachers.
• Bring the concept of togetherness to the centre of the relationship between the kids and the parents and the school.
• Introduce the pupils to the ideas of sustainability, biodiversity and ecology and encourage curiosity about how and where our food comes from. It will also give a chance to the kids to communicate with other schools worldwide through the Incredible Edible Network.
• Encourage more volunteers to join projects organised by the Parents’ Association Committee.
• Promote the involvement of parents in the school organisation, actions, events and committees.
• Help to solve the illegal parking and dangerous driving on and near the school grounds by using strategically placed planting boxes created by the garden committee for the GETNS Incredible Edible project.
• Make our school an example in Ireland for others to follow to create an Incredible Edible group in their communities, towns, schools or colleges as well as integration of sustainability, biodiversity and ecology initiation with learning through a hands-on long-term initiative.
Progress so far
To achieve this ambitious idea we based ourselves on the experience of other Incredible Edible communities and tried to overcome the difficulties that a school poses with growing vegetables.
We came up with a handbook so the project’s history, philosophy, aims, plans, organisation, contacts and plant growing advice can be updated, shared and communicated easily. We want to leave a guide for those who will continue the project in the future. It is also an important document to help our teachers include the project in their teaching during the school year.
The second big part of the project is that we are gradually setting up our own seeds bank and compost stock. This will allow the project be almost cost-free and run itself with just a little help from the community.
The principle of an Incredible Edible community* is simple: One person or group shares something* with the community in whatever capacity they can; in return they get free organic vegetables, flowers, herbs or fruits from the community garden all year long.
The community garden will be composed of three areas representing three different ways to grow vegetables, herbs, flowers in reclaimed spaces according to our goals. The first one is the school garden, where we will grow vegetables traditionally. Then there are the planting boxes made of recycled pallets placed in various places, that will be added to over time. This is our second option for growing vegetables. Finally, there is a large area on the side of the school grounds that we are slowly transforming into a permaculture garden. This is our third way of growing vegetables and other edibles.
We are proud to say that our work so far and the way we set up our project drew interest from the Incredible Edible Network and they decided to publish a piece on the website about the way we planned our GETNS Incredible Edible project to share our ideas with other groups in the Incredible Edible Network.
We hope that the school community will respond favourably to our idea. So far, wherever the Incredible Edible idea has been introduced local residents and school communities have been enthusiastic about the idea. There are now up to 600 Incredible Edible communities worldwide.
If you want to know how you can get involved get in touch with your child’s class teacher. You can also check the news page on this website for updates. Or you can get in touch with one of our core members: Brian Beckett, Astrid Weidenhammer, Sarah Bonaldi, Erin Kelly, Tami Gaberz, Catherine Dan or Yann Seité (gardening coordinator) in the yard or at the following email: email@example.com
Definition of community: Everyone in the school: kids, parents, staff, teachers, management.
Definition of sharing something: Sharing something can be helping to maintain the community garden, organising a community workshop on a craft based around the philosophy of the Incredible Edible (ecology, sustainability, cooking, gardening, recycling, upcycling, biodiversity, knitting, etc) for the community, organising a workshop for a class, organising fundraising for the school, etc.