Market Drayton school's social farm and allotment recognised at awards

A primary school's social farm and allotment project has been recognised for the innovative ways staff and students take advantage of social media.

Longlands Primary School’s social farm was awarded the accolade of the ‘Best use of Social Media’, in a virtual awards ceremony held by the UK-wide charity Social Farms & Gardens.

The ceremony saw gardeners, farmers and community champions tune in from all over the country to hear incredible stories about how green spaces are being used to farm, garden and grow together.

The awards had originally been planned to mark Social Farms & Gardens' 40th birthday in 2020 but were postponed due to the pandemic. Winners were selected from hundreds of nominations received for seven separate categories.

George Hounsell, who is heavily involved in the school's farm project, said: “We are really proud to have received the award for our Twitter page @LonglandsEco. Since its creation, our social farm and school allotment has gone from strength to strength and is now home to a whole host of animals – from rabbits to guinea pigs and chickens to just name a few, and soon we look forward to welcoming two billy goats.

Beau Haycocks helping out with watering

"The children really enjoy gaining practical skills and knowledge of animal care and learning how to grow their own produce. Thank you to Social Farms & Gardens who nominated us and for the continued support with the project from local organisations and the community.”

Attendees had the opportunity to listen to keynote speaker, Pam Warhurst CBE, the co-founder of Incredible Edible, who challenged and inspired them to drive change from the grassroots.

Despite the virtual nature of the ceremony had a sense of fun and togetherness, with presenters revealing the winners' names from gold envelopes and winners sharing their stories.

The judges praised how students were encouraged to 'take over' social media channels and how Longlands Primary School networked across platforms with other organisations.

Pheobe CK feeding the chickens

Judges said: “Longlands also used social media as a tool for up-skilling their community. Effort is being repaid in the number of retweets and shares their channels enjoy.”

Chris Blythe, director of Social Farms & Gardens, said: “How our members have supported their communities through the pandemic – nurturing safe outdoor spaces for our wellbeing, staying connected with vulnerable people, as well as growing and distributing freshly grown produce to families in need – has revealed the value of spaces that connect people and nature.

"The postponed 40th anniversary awards ceremony was an excellent opportunity to recognise just some of the achievements and efforts of these groups over the past four decades.”

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