Little Growers – The Story so Far…
In September 2007 AutoPot launched a new idea called "Little Growers". The idea behind Little Growers is to help educate children, while having fun, in the way that our food grows. AutoPot had selected seven schools, not five as previously advised, from around the UK to launch the idea for 2008.
There are now 26 fully fledged Little Growers schools across the UK and an additional 50 schools with propagators in the initial stages of their projects.
The Little Growers concept has also been adopted across the globe. There are now Little Growers Schools in Japan, the Maldives and Thailand.
All of the schools selected since Little Growers began in 2007 are shown below. We will be updating the website with new content as the projects continue, allowing you to follow the schools' progress, as with those who took part in 2008.
At the heart of the Little Growers project is the unique AutoPot self watering technology invented by Jason Ralph-Smith. The UK manufactured watering systems provide controlled irrigation for food crop production powered only by gravity. They are environmentally friendly, extremely safe for use in the schools and very simple to manage. The added advantage is they can be left unattended for several weeks, ideal for school weekends and holiday breaks.
When they come on board, all schools are provided with complete growing kits free of charge, so they can get started immediately. They select which seeds to plant and learn what they need to make them grow. Their fresh produce is then used throughout the school; during lessons, in the canteen and after school clubs, giving children a taste of 'home-grown' fruit and vegetables.
The process that schools follow to become involved in Little Growers is simple. Those showing an interest simply explain why they wish to be involved and what they will undertake to ensure that the objectives of Little Growers are fully delivered. Little Growers then provides all the necessary equipment including polytunnels, AutoPot self-watering systems, water butts, raised beds, liquid fertilizer, seeds & propagation units. Little Growers offers continuous support, and if required 'hands on' assistance with the set up, either from Jason Ralph-Smith or one of our volunteers. The schools are also provided with key information via online video examples on how to maintain the project and make it the greatest success possible for the childrens' enjoyment and learning.
To help make the launch of Little Growers even more fun AutoPot ran a competition with all the schools involved. We decided to have a loofah competition. Most people if asked would tell you that a loofah is a sponge and comes from the sea. Believe it or not the loofah comes from a plant and is generally grown in the Caribbean. Congratulations to Hillside Primary who won the competition and received an AeroGarden to further their growing project as their prize!
To help make Little Growers prosper and more children benefit we would also like the parents of all the children to get involved. The idea is to try and make Little Growers self perpetuating. Each school will be asked to send out a newsletter to all the parents, informing them that their children & school will be involved in this project. Every parent then wanting to have their own self watering system at home in their greenhouse can purchase the AutoPot watering systems via the AutoPot on-line shop. Of course we will be attempting to raise funds from grants, the national lottery and corporate sponsorship but the more the parents get involved the better the concept will work.