St Patrick’s pupils are growing thanks to Ethan’s new project

St Patrick's Primary pupils with Ethan Young (centre). Picture: Michael Gillen
St Patrick's Primary pupils with Ethan Young (centre). Picture: Michael Gillen

Pupils at a Denny school have been digging deep to learn more about where our food comes from and how sustainable it can be.

Children with additional support needs at St Patrick’s Primary have began a ‘From Seed to Plate’ project which will see them grow a variety of vegetables and later learn how to prepare and cook them.

Gardening has proven to be beneficial for mental health and wellbeing

Ethan Young

It’s the latest venture from Denny-based charity Peace by Piece, which is run by former aid worker Ethan Young and focuses on establishing grass roots projects.

Ethan has experience of working in Kenya and Israel’s West Bank but is happy to be supporting a cause a bit closer to home.

“The idea is to give the pupils’ experience of the journey of a seed up to the end product on your plate,” he said.

“Sessions will take place monthly and include more planting, maintenance, learning about the biology and care needed to grow food and the final stage of cooking what has been harvested.

“The second aspect is the personal benefits. Gardening has proven to be beneficial for mental health and wellbeing. In general we are now understanding an inherent need to be closer to nature as we move further away from it in other aspects of life. Thirdly, and most obviously, is the ability to grow food.

“Not only are we looking to teach about growing food we are looking for this to have a ripple effect through the community.”

The former Grangemouth High pupil was working in finance when he first decided to embark on what he felt would be a more challenging and rewarding career.

Ethan, who has used a wheelchair since being diagnosed with muscular dystrophy as a teenager, signed up to take part in a charity trek across the Sahara desert, which provided the motivation to work helping others.

“There is need to have the skills to grow your own food both for financial and nutritional benefits,” he continued.

“Also, time outdoors, working as part of a team with practical learning is becoming increasingly acknowledged as an important need in the development of children. We hope to provide this opportunity for more schools to take part next year.”

For more information on Peace by Piece, visit www.peacebypiece.org.uk.