Soils - Food for Thought

Published Wednesday, 22nd January 2014 in Research news

Growing Global Food Citizens course

A meeting with Professor Christine Watson, Leader of SRUC’s Soil and Systems team, sent a group of Edinburgh Primary teachers home enthused about what their pupils can learn through soil.

They had arrived at the one day course thinking soil was just the stuff you plant things in. They left excited about the opportunities it offered, which is exactly what the course organisers had hoped.

Spread over 5 months, “Growing Global Food Citizens” is a one day a month, continuing professional development course for teachers, with twenty participants. It involves Edinburgh City Council and Eco-Schools Scotland, together with the Whitmuir Organics local farm and two staff each from six Edinburgh primary schools. They are developing teaching approaches and materials to help young people learn more about the history and culture of food, how it affects them or the environment and how to grow and cook food for themselves.

Christine Watson’s contribution, in the session on the impact of food on the planet, dealt with soil and why it matters.

“All the schools seemed to have some kind of plots, tubs or raised beds,” says Christine. “So they thought they would prepare the soils and get the kids planting. They went home thinking the kids should learn about soil first, in particular that soils are alive and are different and that you can use your senses to tell the difference – smell, feel, look etc. There was real excitement over the potential”.

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