MTS FARM FRESH
As an outdoor classroom and experiential learning center, the Metropole Farm provides students with opportunities to work collaboratively with peers and staff to gain an appreciation of the importance of sustainability.
Students participate in all phases of soil preparation, sowing, cultivating, harvesting, consuming, and composting, which demonstrates the cyclical nature of organic processes and enriches their appreciation of how gardens can inspire and reward whole communities.
Crops to classrooms: growing engagement
GEMS Metropole Farm Fresh is a dedicated outdoor learning space with fruits and vegetables and to the delight of all our students, even some chickens, ducks and rabbits have taken up residence. Additional facilities include a hydroponics farm and potting shed for gardening in the hot summer months.
The benefits of incorporating an active farm in to our school provides fantastic learning advantages to our students and creates strong community links. Our mission has always been to create a positive and socially aware environment in which we could educate not only our students, but also our school families about the benefits of sustainability.
GEMS Metropole Farm Fresh is an integral component of the school’s educational, enterprise and vocational related activities as well as incorporating the requirements of our students with additional needs. Research has shown that school farms with livestock, enrich and embed the academic curriculum effectively across various subjects such as Science, Maths, English, Geography, Business studies and social and personal development. In real terms it is as simple as where would the students gain the most benefit and engagement in real-world experience? Well where else could you teach the importance of crop rotation in geography, the life cycle of a living animal in science and calculate the financial running costs of our farm in maths? The teaching and learning opportunities seem endless and that is the beauty of the practical elements of having a farm.
As a school we ensure students take on social responsibility by adapting their learning from our local community to the global stage. We tackle head on the United Nations Sustainability Goals and students relish the hands-on approach. Growing our own medicinal herbs, fruit and vegetables is a step in the right direction of creating an open dialogue across our school about social responsibility and how we can make positive changes in the world. Students feel that they are part of the global discussion and can make a real difference.
In KS3, our YR 9 art students work on producing merchandise for the farm. Such lines of production include environmentally friendly totes bags that are branded with our farm fresh logo. The students regularly visit the farm to gain inspiration for their creative designs and thoroughly enjoy being involved in these social enterprise initiatives!
Our KS5 business students in Secondary have created a farm committee and hold weekly meetings to discuss the growth potential of the farm. Each member of the committee has a key area of responsibility such as marketing, product development and finance. Students are learning lifelong skills that they will take with them into their future education settings such as organisation, time management and working in teams. All of these topics are linked directly back to their course and encourage further understanding and therefore greater success in exams!
As our farm grows so does the passion within our children. The one request we cannot quite provide yet is from our younger students – the addition of a camel to our farm. Well not quite just yet…
“I enjoyed visiting the farm with my teacher Ms Beth. We planted peppermint and watered them. We will check on them each week and watch them grow. We also saw chickens and Ms Beth explained that we need to look after the chickens; it is fun giving them their food. I love visiting the farm”. Hala El Gamal Year 2E
“I really enjoy visiting the farm, my teacher Mr Conor teaches us the importance of sustainable food growth and irrigation by using the water systems and crops in the farm as examples it makes the topics much easier to understand. I also enjoy seeing the animals as living in a city we don’t get to see many chickens or ducks”. Leon McCann Year 6A
“The Farm to me is an eco-friendly, sustainable student-enterprise advocating for agriculture and animal welfare through our ever-growing family of rabbits and chickens. As the lead creative voice at my school, it has been a great pleasure of mine to direct The Farm's branding and visual identity. I am really grateful to be involved in the project.”Shanessa Fernandes Year 13B