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Eco News: Grow Bag Project

15th Apr 2024

The Eco team in DHS has been hard at work in recent months on the ‘Grow Bag Project’. As an ambassador Eco school, we wanted to get the local Downpatrick schools more involved in collaborative projects. Growing and creating sustainable food production was an ideal choice. It lends itself to the curriculum and fulfils many of the Eco Schools NI criteria. It is also good for promoting biodiversity, healthy eating, and well-being.  

Growing from seed and harvesting and eating the produce is a life affirming experience. If these skills can be embed in our young people today, they will be equipped with lifelong skills and a mindset that will help them become more sustainable adults.

Therefore, it was decided to design and create grow bags. The grow bags needed to be as sustainable as possible, and the pupils and staff of DHS got involved in their production. All material was donated, and Mrs McCabe from the Art department let us use the sewing machines. Thanks also goes to teachers and staff who also helped us to sew the bags.

80% of the seeds provided in the grow bags were provided free of charge by Mr Brian Faulkner from Seeds Ireland. These were sent in bulk bags which the DHS pupils then put into smaller labelled seed packets. Newry Mourne and Down District Council also kindly donated sunflower seeds. There are approximately 11 different seeds inside each bag. We have tried to give each school similar seeds, but with a little added variety for fun. The compost has been very kindly donated by New leaf compost in Moira.

The plant labels were made from cut offs from NI plastics in Shrigley, Killyleagh. Thank you to Technology department for cutting the boards into strips for us to shape into plant labels.

Finally, our HE department provided information for recipes that would use the produce grown from the seeds.

We look forward to tracking the progress made by local schools and in the autumn term we will all get together to celebrate with a harvest feast.