Life on the Phoenix Farm
The farm is starting to come to life for spring! The students - both in afterschool clubs and in interventions - have been helping sow the seeds for this years’ crops and have cabbages, tomatoes, peppers, chillies and radishes underway, to name a few. The students who participated in farm club in autumn took strawberry runners and planted them; now the students are taking these rooted cuttings and are planting them out in newly prepared beds to be the new strawberry crop for this year.
During half-term, London Sport Trust sponsored the Safe Holiday Camp on the farm which was open for the community. The highlight was pancake making, using the fresh eggs taken from the coop. The family session saw local families enjoying the farm as the chickens ran around and the children watered the garden.
Salt Yard Restaurant Group have always been hugely supportive once again and would like to run cooking lessons for our students. They kicked off the harvesting season on Monday 19th March, with some of our year 8 students helping them select and harvest the food for a dish on their menu.
‘Spring on the Farm’ is coming up again on the 17th May. The Hammersmith Community Gardening Association have organised for a pop-up farm set up at the school farm and in the area outside the pool. Local primary schools from all over the borough come to the farm and have a wonderful experience of meeting huge range of farm animals. The smoothie bike comes out, so do lots of interesting activities with food and plants. Phoenix Academy students will be acting as ambassadors and will be helping ensure that the young children have a really positive experience during their visit.
Farm Project Intervention
‘Farm Project’ interventions have continued on the farm, with a group of year 8s on Mondays and year 7s on Wednesdays. With the ‘Beast from the East’ visiting, these students have been really very helpful in moving most of the animals into the Technology Block to help them survive the freezing conditions. They used the time spent indoors to also help start to sow the crops for this year.
Now the weather has improved, we have been out and about with them, working on all sorts of planting and horticultural tasks. Wisterias are notoriously difficult to get to flower well and is ‘Gardeners’ Question Time’s most asked question, but Rebecca, pictured on the panel below, shows, that with good instruction, a year 7 can prune one correctly. The intervention students had to use a lot of team work to plant the strawberry crop for this year and we are really pleased with their efforts.
Then, to mix it all up students are asked to work with students that they wouldn’t normally work with, as having a nice fresh bowl of scrambled eggs at the end was worth the communication skills. Yes - the chickens were walking around the students whilst they made the scrambled eggs straight out of their coop!
We are very proud of the Phoenix Farm, and pleased to offer horticulture as one of the many activities students at Phoenix Academy can get involved in, as part of our exceptional Raising Aspirations Enrichment programme.