First harvest from Fratton school’s community garden goes down a treat

Nicola Nixon led the protest outside Purbrook Park School Picture: Habibur Rahman (171257-382)

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TASTY tomatoes and delicious apples were top of the menu at a community garden’s open day.

Families packed out the green space at Manor Infant School in Inverness Road, Fratton, Portsmouth, to celebrate the sixth month of the project and to enjoy the fruits of their labours.

The Fratton Global Garden was set up by Manor Infant School, Fratton Big Local and Food Portsmouth to give families access to a garden, so that children can learn about their food and where it comes from.

A party was held after school hours yesterday, with live music and games.

Visitors got to taste freshly-pressed apple juice, apple cake made with the eggs from the school’s chickens and soup grown from tomatoes in the garden’s polytunnel.

Headteacher Ashley Howard said: ‘It is bringing the community together as it is for anybody and everybody to use.

Kiera-Mia Ablett, 12, Rachael Wilson, Maggie Lucas, six, Michelle Garland, Riley Garland, six, Lisa Ablett, Trinity Ablett, nine, and Shaun Ablett, six, in the polytunnel with fresh fruit and vegtables Picture: Habibur Rahman (161458-83)

Kiera-Mia Ablett, 12, Rachael Wilson, Maggie Lucas, six, Michelle Garland, Riley Garland, six, Lisa Ablett, Trinity Ablett, nine, and Shaun Ablett, six, in the polytunnel with fresh fruit and vegtables Picture: Habibur Rahman (161458-83)

‘Our children come here, and mums, and people from the church and other groups, who come to water the plants.

‘And there’s an after-school club too, it’s all to get the children into growing their own fruit and vegetables and to get them to learn where their produce comes from.’

At yesterday’s event, guarding the school’s four chickens – Nelly, Popcorn, Marge and Margaret – was Deeanne Rose, mum of six-year-old twins Ella and Emily, and chairwoman of the PTA.

Deeane, from Ernest Road, said: ‘It is really good.

‘It has grown as it started out as just a few patches, but the girls come along to the after-school club and they love it. They have brought home tomatoes, planted squashes, it is brilliant.

‘We’re limited with what we can do at home with our small garden, so they really enjoy it here.’

Getting stuck in to the games, including making a scarecrow and apple on a string, was six-year-old Maggie Lucas, who goes to Manor Infant School.

‘I like it here as there’s lots of fruit and vegetables,’ she said.

Helping out with her mum Lisa Ablett, was Keira, 12, from Portsmouth Academy. They live in Guildford Road.

Keira said: ‘It is a good chance for kids to get involved if they live in a flat or don’t have a very big garden.’

Anna Potten, community development worker at Fratton Big Local, said she was pleased to see so many people at the event.

‘It’s great,’ she said.

To get involved with the garden call Anna on (023) 9229 4341 or email community@frattonbiglocal.org.uk