Pop Up Farm
Envirolution Pop Up Farm began from listening to the very inspirational words of Paul Clarke talking about Pop Up Farm. The idea of taking environmentally friendly initiatives into school, all of which, would be free to implement as they would either save the school money or generate an income was fascinating.
The ‘U Decide’
This is why we went along to the Chorlon U Decide event under the heading of ‘Envirolution Pop Up Farm’ to bid for £750 to work with local schools. After a round of presentations and votes we received the money and set about deciding what an Envirolution Pop Up Farm actually was.
The Words ‘Pop Up’ and ‘Farm’ in a school could only mean one thing, Envirolution popping up for those lucky enough to be near to make, paint and plant their very own miniature farm. Granted this was not going to revolutionise the sustainability of the schools but was a chance for the pupils to experience getting there hands dirty with soil and have some fun. After our practically minded team got their hands on the nearest tools our 8 foot tall Farm Making Stall was ready to be unveiled at the local school.
We were treated to a couple of bright clear spring afternoons having the kind of smiley fun that comes with working (or is that playing) with mud and paint. The Envirolution Pop Up Farmers were enjoying it as much as the young pupils from the local primary schools. We knew that we were on to something good!
The schools keep in regular touch afterwards, saying how excited/ proud the children were of their farms and the magical mystical plants that were growing from the black soil. As part of the Pop Up Farm all the seeds were secret, leaving the children unaware of what treats were going to grow. Although it was even a surprise for us when we were told one of the farms had sprouted mushrooms!
BeatHerder and beyond
An activity that is as much fun for the children participating as for the responsible adults supervising, there must be more to this than simply Primary Schools. This was a thought that we took along to the Chorlton Big Green Festival. We had our 8 foot Farm Making Stall, a sheet of plastic, paints, unrecyclable containers, compost, seeds and a gloriously sunny day. And to our surprise we also had a willing army of children camped outside the stall all day happily making farms. It was definitely time to see where else the Pop Up Farm could go.by Dave Barrow
Offers came in thick and fast giving us a busy summer of festivals to go sow our seeds and spread some of our Envirolution wisdom. But before we desended on Beatherder Festival we needed an addition to our utility belt of tricks, the PhotoBooth. This allowed us to dress up and be silly to people of all ages, as Envirolution is for everyone not just children.
So the Beatherder weekend passed (with lots of rain and storms) with many farms built and important questions answered, such as ‘What Vegetable are you?’, ‘What do you like most about nature?’ and ‘What would you invent to save the world?’.
Next we found ourselves at Just So Festival within an enchanting forest for a weekend that turned into an industrial farm making production line. We had, what seemed like hundreds of, children and parents churning out numerous farms all with smiling happy faces.
Our summer finished at Festival No. 6 where in the short time since the beginning of the Pop Up Farm adventure, we now found ourselves elevated to jointly running the whole kids area of the festival. The Pop Up Farm and Photo Booth had evolved into three full themed days of activity that involved lots of hardwork and sweat but was matched with an equal amount enjoyment for all involved.
Bringing the Pop Up Farm around full circle we finished the year back in a local school, St John’s Primary School in Chorlton. Envirolution Pop Up Farm’s year culminated in us supporting a food growing area at the school. The planned six raised bed area will be ready for the pupils to begin planting in spring. We are looking forward to keeping you up to date on how they get on.