Little Growers Newsletter – March 2011

Dear Little Growers School,

Spring is on its way and here at Little Growers we are spring cleaning the office, getting ready to make new projects bloom and encouraging our schools to get back out into their gardens and start growing. Now is the time to clean out the polytunnels, flush the irrigation systems and get the seeds sown. This time of year with Spring arriving is the start of a busy time at Little Growers and we are keen to make more of a difference this year, with more projects beginning and facilitating productivity across all of our schools.
Unfortunately we regrettably announce we didn’t receive the Local Food grant from the National Lottery, we have been in the process for 18 months and had progressed steadily through each stage, completing two applications, an external assessment and much legal paperwork refining and posting. We were pleased and confident with our effort and felt we had a strong proposal that fitted the funding brief, however on this occasion we were unsuccessful. The fund was hugely over subscribed and closed significantly earlier than planned due to the huge demand for the scheme and fund. However this has not deterred us but encouraged us to pursue other routes of how best to develop Little Growers and facilitate more schools to be able to grow their own produce. We have new exciting projects developing so please read on to see what we are working on and keep an eye on the website and Facebook page for regular updates…

Up and coming events and shows for Little Growers
Little Growers are pleased to announce that we will be attending the following three Horticultural Education events over the coming months…

Growing Schools Conference
We attended this event last year and had a great day meeting teachers and other organisations who champion the same causes as Little Growers. We will have a stand in the market place this year and would love to see you there. It is being held at Garden Organic near Coventry on the 23rd March and is informative day for teachers interested in developing their growing projects. To find out more please follow this link.

Food Initiative Group Conference
This is the first time Little Growers will be attending this event organised by the Food Initiative Group held in Nottingham in May. We will be running both a stand where you can meet the team and discuss our projects and how we can help schools, as well as a workshop for teachers who wish to learn more about grow your own and irrigation systems in schools. The ‘Get your School Growing’ event is expecting approximately 50 schools from across the East Midlands, alongside community garden groups and other organisations that are able to offer support and advice to the schools. For more information if you wish to attend please email

Countryside Live
Little Growers will be attending the Countryside Live event in London on the 21st and 22nd September. It is run by the Countryside Foundation for Education, with countryside shows for primary school children called Countryside Live – the event is set up like a country fair with marquees and a central arena. We will be attending and running our own stand and hands on activity workshops with children throughout the day within a marquee. Around 1500 children attend per day, together with their teachers and helpers. Little Growers will be running 30 minute bookable sessions for children to attend throughout the days where they can learn about growing, watering and how much fun outdoor learning and grow your own can be. To find out more about the event and to book a place to attend please follow this link.
Little Growers are in the news again!
Little Growers recently had two articles published, we are always keen to champion our causes through press features and articles, to read them on full please explore the Little Growers Media & Endorsements area. The first article saw Little Growers published for a second time in the National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners Magazine. It is distributed to all NSALG members and we had great feedback and responses from allotment groups wishing to incorporate students and junior members into their allotments last time we featured in this publication. Read the article by following this link

The second article is for The National Association for Environmental Education and features a learning resource for teachers and an article written by Little Growers to encourage and instruct teachers in the value of horticulture in schools in terms of both the personal and educational benefits for their students. Follow this link to read the article.An update from Little Growers in the MaldivesLittle Growers has now arrived in the Maldives, we have donated equipment to 36 schools in the region to facilitate growing in schools where the climate is ideal for growing but also in a part of the world where a lot of produce is imported and not self sustainable. We have supplied AutoPot irrigation systems (easy2grow kits) to each school so that they can see how straight forward the Little Growers set ups are and how is easy it is to establish and maintain a grow project within the school environment. We will keep you regularly updated via the website and Facebook on their progress as news is already spreading fast around the islands and we have received emails of interest from other schools keen to become involved in Little Growers.
A truly innovative piece of equipment is launched in Little Growers schools
 This month has seen the launch of AutoPot’s new raised bed and in ground irrigation system the ‘AQUAbox Spyder’ in three of our projects. Wandle Valley School, Ysgol y Gogarth School and the Barton Mills Junior Allotment Group have all received their AQUAbox Spyders to irrigate their raised bed areas and are excited to get underway with this new and unique system that alleviates all worries of watering and feed when used in raised beds.   The AQUAbox Spyder is extremely simple to set up and once connected to a water butt or tank can be left unattended to water and feed an area of 1.2 square meters. All the teachers need to do is refill the water butt as and when the plants require or connect a ball-cock to each water butt to provide a constant supply of water to the water butt/tank.We will be keeping you up to date on how well suited these are for use in schools and the great results our schools achieve with them. If you wish to know more about the AQUAbox Spyder or are keen to have them within your school growing project please email

How it Works…
The AQUAbox Spyder is positioned directly into the ground, making it ideal for watering conventional beds or the increasingly popular raised beds.A series of capillary wicks fan out from the AQUAbox Spyder distributing water under the soil, across an area of up to 1.2sq/m.With the AQUAvalve at its core, the AQUAbox Spyder draws on the water supply (water butt or tank) as required by the plants, ensuring a fantastically efficient use of water. The plants roots instinctively head towards the water source, attaching themselves to the capillary wicks below the soil level.The plants roots instinctively head towards the water source, attaching themselves to the capillary wicks below the soil level. The 19.5cm diameter AQUAbox Spyder is supplied with 2 metres of 6mm pipe and a reducing connector with integral filter, allowing simple connection to a water butt tap via a section of standard garden hosepipe (not supplied).To view for yourself how the AQUAbox Spyder works please watch this informative AQUAbox Spyder Animation talking you through a step by step guide of how to install one in a raised bed.

Little Growers continues to boost its Online Presence
Online Interactive Community is growing every week, with more schools joining and increasing updates from schools on their progress. The aim of the Online Community is for schools to chart their growing project’s progress, whilst earning points that they can then use to gain free equipment with, it also means that they can learn and communicate with one and other about the successes and pitfalls of growing in their schools.We are extremely keen to pioneer and promote the New Online Community at Little Growers so please do take a look and join up if you are part of a school growing initiative. The more you update your profile with posts and photographs the more equipment you can earn to expand your project further and further.Visit the School Community by following this link or join/register your school here.

Little Growers at Facebook 
Little Growers is now up and running on Facebook, please do join our group to be updated with news, photos and more from the Little Growers team.To see what we are up to please follow this link to our Facebook Page  

New ideas and projects are in the Pipeline for Little Growers, so watch this space!
Since finding out we did not receive the National Lottery funding we are keen to champion new projects and explore new avenues for developing and expanding Little Growers. There are lots of exciting ideas being discussed within Little Growers so please do contact us if you have any ideas you wish to contribute or would like to be involved with any of the schemes below. Please send an email to We are in talks with The Co-operative Supermarket near to the Little Growers Office to start a Pilot Scheme. The pilot will see Little Growers produce sold by the Co-operative to raise a revenue for the schools involved to increase their horticultural projects and to promote freshly grown local produce to the surrounding community. The schools in the Bagshot area that have Little Growers projects already will be provided with extra raised beds and the new AQUAbox Spyders to have sufficient growing capacity to supply the produce to the supermarket where it will be sold under the ‘Little Growers’ brand. The Co-operative are keen to develop this pilot so keep an eye on Facebook and coming newsletters for updates on this exciting new venture.We are also developing partnerships with Horticultural businesses to promote and expand Little Growers into more schools across the UK. We are currently talking with Unwins Seeds and Premier Polytunnels to explore joint ventures where experienced businesses in the growing industry work along side Little Growers to encourage growing in schools and healthy eating. This venture is in the early stages but we will be sure to keep you updated as it develops. If successful it will allow us to help more children across the UK and not rely solely on public fundraising but instead develop relationships with businesses that are established in the horticultural industry.Finally we are developing a ‘Sponsor a School’ scheme, this is only just getting off the ground in terms of development in the Little Growers Office, but is sure to be a big hit. The idea is that local businesses, parents and communities can sponsor their local school to provide them with a complete horticultural start up kit. Little Growers will provide the support, advice and know how to assist the school in getting their growing started, with the sponsorship providing the much needed gardening equipment. Little Growers will be putting together a range of options, depending on the size of sponsorship, for example a ‘Raised Bed Package’, ‘The Polytunnel Package’ and more… The ‘Sponsor a School’ packages will range from around £100 (which a school could raise for themselves through a sponsored silence, bake sales etc) to around £450 with local businesses providing sponsorship. The key to this idea is that not only will the school gain the equipment they need to begin their gardening eco project by working with Little Growers they will gain the expertise, support and guidance of the Little Growers team. That’s all from us Little Growers for now but please do offer feedback on our ideas and if you wish to become involved in a Little Growers project whether as a teacher, school, student or volunteer do contact me via Growing and here’s to Spring arriving and the projects blooming!Heather Pearl – Project Manager

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