"Grow to Learn is a Community Interest Company set up to enable schools and other organisations to enrich children’s learning and leisure with practical, positive and life enhancing activities and opportunities delivered by experienced teachers and gardeners."

Grow to Learn was established in 2011 by two teachers, Amanda Smart and Bobbie Frere, after they experienced the improvement to quality of life that working a shared allotment for three years gave them. They recognised that the combination of physical, outdoor activity and a sense of achievement from seeds sown producing fresh, tasty, seasonal vegetables could make a real difference in children’s lives, not just in the short term but into their adult years too. 

Photo of Amanda SmartI have been teaching for over 15 years all within inner city Birmingham in a variety of environments.  I have been a RE Co-ordinator and a phase leader during this time.  I have also been a supply teacher and have done literacy tutoring in schools.

I love having an allotment, being outdoors is so relaxing.  I love the physical activity of digging and the feeling of achievement that comes from food growing. 

Unlike Bobbie I am quite happy to spend a long time putting in leeks, onion sets, etc - it is very soothing.  I love the surprise of coming to the plot and finding all sorts of things to harvest, especially when I find something to harvest even in the middle of winter!  I like the idea that growing is all seasonal and if something doesn't work out this year there is always the chance to try again next year.

Photo of Bobbie FrereI've been teaching in schools for over eighteen years. I have worked for several years in multi-cultural, inner city schools and have been phase leader with responsibility for behaviour management. 

In addition, I have worked as a supply teacher for several years giving me experience of teaching in a wide variety of schools. I've had an allotment for over five years and for as long as I can remember have grown produce in pots, bags and dustbins at home.  It's great being outside and I enjoy digging, building things, and harvesting best of all. 

If we have a lot of sowing and planting to do, I'd rather let Amanda do this!  I love my work, although I do get frustrated if slugs eat more of the harvest than we do!  But there is nothing quite so exciting as sitting down to a plate of food that was only picked an hour ago.