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    Welcome to Skool Beanz CIC

    We are a gardening club teaching children how to grow delicious vegetables, beautiful flowers and how to garden to help nature with plenty of upcycled art thrown in, run from our very own allotment in the village of Chilthorne Domer near Yeovil in Somerset, UK.

  • Donate to Skool Beanz

    Help us to help children and nature through the joy of gardening.

    Your donation will help pay for seeds, plants, compost, art materials and hard landscaping as we regularly update and improve our children's allotment. £10 pays for a child on free school meals to attend a Skool Beanz club. Every penny helps and we are so grateful for your support.

  • News

     

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    2024 Adult Courses For Gardening With Children

    This year we are proud to offer adult day courses for anyone interested in starting a children's gardening club, creating a children's garden or just looking for top tips on how to engage little beanz in the garden. No gardening experience required. Everyone welcome aged 18+.

     

    Sunday 24th March

    Sunday 7th, 21st, 28th April

    Sunday 19th May

    Sunday 23rd June

    Sunday 21st July

    Sunday 18th August

    Sunday 22nd, 29th September

    Sunday 6th, 13th October

     

    10am - 4pm.

     

    £95

     

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    Skool Beanz at Green Scythe Fair

    Sunday 9 June 2024

    Skool Beanz is delighted to be at this lovely fair for the first time, running fun activities including making origami seeds packets, fabric flowers and oat milk carton microgreen salads. This fair is special because it's aims are:

    • To raise environmental awareness through creative activities.
    • To promote sustainable communities in South Somerset
    • To engage the local community in Green Issues
    • To promote and celebrate the emerging, green and traditional activity of scything

    We look forward to seeing you there.

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    Skool Beanz Open Day

    Looking forward to opening our Skool Beanz allotment to the public for this special event, raising money for Yeovil Breast Cancer Unit a cause close to our hearts after losing two lovely ladies in our village to breast cancer. 8 gardens will be open on the day, with a vintage car ferrying people up and down the village, live music and plenty of homemade tea and cakes. Do come along and show your support. 

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    Skool Beanz Children's Garden at Bath & West Show

    Wed 30 May - Sat 1 June 2024

    Skool Beanz is thrilled to be designing a children's garden for this legendary show. We are pulling all the stops out, recreating all the favourite must haves from our original Skool Beanz allotment. This children's garden will include a quiet wildlife garden with dead hedge and secret den, a polytunnel kindly provided by First Tunnels, water collecting station, Muddy Buddy compost heap, No-Dig veg beds, raised beds, bath tubs, and toilet planters, upcyled art by Yeovil Creatives and 'Imagine, Learn and Create' and lots of colourful plants generously sponsored by Brimsmore Garden Centre. We can't wait to show you around!

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    Skool Beanz at Earth Day

    This is the second year we have a stand at this fabulous event at Nine Springs in Yeovil bringing everyone together and celebrating our precious Earth and the nature and plants within her.

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    Future Gardener's Forum - Live Webinar for everyone who gardens with children - 17th January 2024

    Lara from Skool Beanz is honoured to be speaking at this online event. Are you a gardening club leader, teacher, parent, or grandparent? Would you like to start a gardening club or create a children’s garden in your local community? With a panel of experienced children’s gardening creators and teachers, this is a place to share ideas and top tips on how to inspire the next generation of gardeners. Charles Dowding will introduce the forum and our panel of speakers. Each speaker will give an overview of their project, once everyone has spoken we will have a Q&A session. Start time is 11.30am GMT and we expect to finish at 1pm

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    Skool Beanz Annual Pumpkin Party

    It's that time of year again when we dress as our favourite spooky veg, bug or flower and guess the weight of the giant pumpkin - will we ever beat the whopping 48.9kg we grew in our first year?! This year we are delighted to have professional storyteller Helen Bruce tell us interactive stories with drumming around the fire. We can't wait to see you there!

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    Skool Beanz awarded Level 5 Outstanding

    A highlight this year was entering South West in Bloom It's Your Neighbourhood 2023. A lovely judge came to visit us just as we finished our after school gardening club. As I showed him around the garden, a little bean chased him with a bubble gun! As bubbles flew everywhere and he took the colouful organised chaos of the Skool Beanz allotment in, he exclaimed ''I don't think I've ever seen anything like this!'' Turns out Level 5 Outstanding means that's a good thing!

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    Joyful Skool Beanz & Charles Dowding Film

    Another pinch ourselves moment this summer was when the Willy Wonka of Veg and my old boss, mentor and friend Charles Dowding came to film a holiday gardening club. The sun shone and the children helped Charles pick fruit, veg and flowers. A wonderful morning we will never forget.

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    Skool Beanz on Gardener's World

    Episode 22, Aug 2023

    A pinch ourselves moment was welcoming the Gardener's World team and community gardening hero Tayshan Hayden - Smith to spend a couple of days with us on the Skool Beanz allotment filming some of the activities we get up to. In true English summer style, it absolutely poured down on the second day of filming but that didn't dampen the little beanz spirits and we hope the magic and joy we experience from gardening shines through your tv screens.

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    Skool Beanz Open Day

    Sat 12th August 11am - 5pm

    We are thrilled to host our second NGS Open Day of the Year, welcoming you to look around our children's allotment. With tea and cake served at The Rec, live music, market stalls, plants for sale, creative gardening activities and lots of fun for all the family.

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    Picnic at Skool Beanz allotment

    Sun 23rd July 2023

    12-5pm

    We are excited to be part of the Somerset Food Trail this year. Bring a picnic and sit amongst the beautiful flowers and veg at the Skool Beanz allotment. A lovely afternoon for all the family.

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    Creative Gardening Workshop

    @ Yeovil Art Space

    Sat 17th June 10am - 3pm

    Skool Beanz is running this fun workshop encouraging you to get arty and planty! Go green and learn how to upcycle and decorate pots, plant a pizza, make origami seed packets, decorate a jam jar lid for our ‘Jamdelier,’ paint a wooden spoon plant label and grow a microgreen salad and much more!

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    Skool Beanz at Home Farm Fest

    9th - 11th June 2023

    This is our second year at this lovely family friendly music festival in our village running creative gardening workshops.

     

    The money raised goes to School in a Bag, the wonderful charity who send School Bags filled with educational resources to poor, orphan, vulnerable, disadvantaged and disaster-affected children around the world.

     

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    Skool Beanz at RHS Wisley

    May 2023

    It's National Children's Gardening Week 27th May - 4th June and what better way to celebrate than to spend the day at Wisley with my friend Charles Dowding, delivering creative gardening workshops in the beautiful new Hilltop building to keen little gardeners and their adults. Thank you to eveyone who joined us and made it so fun.

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    Garden like you have 1 summer left

    Article for The Little Yellow Book of Gardens and health for gardens and health week 2023

    Thank you National Garden Scheme for publishing this article I wrote about the reasons behind starting Skool Beanz and why I'm so passionate about teaching gardening to children.

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    Skool Beanz NGS Open Day

    Saturday 15th April 2023

    11am - 5pm

    Come along and visit the Skool Beanz Allotments (we have 4!) and our community orchard at our NGS open days this year on Saturday 15th April and Saturday 12th August.

     

    With plenty of garden inspiration and fun children's gardening activities along with stalls selling seeds, plants, Skool Beanz art creations, jewellry, woodturning and delicious tea and cake served at The Rec.

     

    We can't wait to see you there.

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    New No-Dig Children's Book

    Skool Beanz is thrilled to have contributed to this fab new No-Dig Children's Gardening book by Charles Dowding out January 2023.

     

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    Sherborne Times February 2023

    Thank you so much to the Sherborne Times for featuring us and sharing the Skool Beanz joy.

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    Crowdfunder Raises £987

    Thank you so much to everyone who kindly donated to this fund. What a great way to kick start the new year.

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    RHS The Garden Magazine October 2021

    Biggest thanks goes to garden writer extraordinaire Matt Biggs for seeking me out and writing this lovely article about my gardening story and the reasons why I'm so passionate about teaching children the joys of gardening.

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    About

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    Hello,

     

    I'm Lara and I created Skool Beanz because I felt inspired by Greta Thunberg's Fridays For Future movement and young activists around the world standing up for our precious planet. Skool Beanz started as an after school gardening club at the primary school in my village of Chilthorne Domer in Somerset in June 2019. It was so popular that when an allotment opposite the school became available, I decided to transform the plot into a garden especially for children using the No-Dig method. Then covid hit. So the lockdown's were spent getting the allotment all cleared, built, mulched with compost and manure and woodchip paths laid all ready for the children to start planting in April 2021 when the lockdown was eased. Since then Saturday gardening club has run every week, 10am-12pm from Spring to Christmas.

     

    The Skool Beanz allotment is like no other with a cut flower area, fruit and veg beds, rain water collecting station, 'muddy buddy' compost heap, quiet wildlife garden, secret den, polytunnel, raised beds, fruit trees and work tables. A beautiful garden brimming with life and colour where children can pick buckets of dahlias, gorge on raspberries, fish tadpoles out of the pond, water the plants and each other, throw petal confetti, hold an elephant hawk moth caterpillar, make 'Michael Eavis' and 'Barbara' the scarecrows, feed the birds, pod peas, dig potatoes, make 'perfume' and pick Colin and Harold the courgettes to name but a few!

     

    With 1 in 6 children suffering from poor mental health according to an NHS survey conducted in Oct 2020 and 40% of our wildlife declined since the 1970's with the UK being one of the most nature depleted countries on Earth according to the 2019 State of Nature report, children and nature need each other more than ever. If we teach children how to create a beautiful garden, not only will it improve their physical and mental wellbeing it will benefit our precious wildlife.

     

    Teaching children how to sow seeds, grow fruit and veg, and harvest, store and prepare food they have grown are skills they will keep forever. Skills they will teach their children and grandchildren. My dream is to teach as many children, parents and teachers the joys of gardening and what can be achieved on an allotment or in your own garden with the best tips, advice and ways to engage young people which I have learnt over the past few years teaching gardening to children.

     

    Happy growing everyone

     

    Lara x

     

    Previous Employers:

    Charles Dowding

    Long Acre Plants For Shade

    Black Shed Flower Farm

    Blackmarsh Farm Kitchen Garden

    Martock Workspace Kitchen Garden (current)

     

    Horticultural Qualifications and Experience:

    RHS Practical Level 2

    Diploma in Social and Therapeutic Horticulture, Coventry University

    Brighton Permaculture Trust

     

     

     

     

  • Contact Us

    We love hearing from other Beanz