The Growing Up Project is a vegetable farm with many small hands at work. Every day of the week there are children onsite from the ages of 9 months to 19 years, learning about farming from grower, Tom Baxter. According to Tom, he probably has the least effective and most expensive labour of any vegetable farm in the UK! Twice a week the local nursery visits the farm to tend to their dedicated "school tunnel" where the children actively participate in the slow process of earth becoming a jungle of vibrant produce over the course of the growing season. The goal is to build their confidence and comprehension of where food comes from; understanding the interconnected roles of ladybirds, bees, manure and the seasons to putting the food on their plates.
This year they are working 8 80ft polytunnels and a 2 acre orchard with soft fruits, asparagus and rhubarb. In the tunnels there is an assortment of tomatoes, peppers, peas and a large number of heritage beans. Tom has a bit of a pumpkin fetish (he blames it on the kids) and grows over 30 varieties including some from seeds from the United States (which you will not find elsewhere in the UK). Last year they grew a 200kg pumpkin!
The farm was certified organic until 2 years ago when it went through a period without any veg growing taking place. Since Tom has come on board he has continued to farm in exactly the same manner with absolutely no chemicals (not the kind of things you want around young children!)