Funding from Kent Community Foundation will kick-start the initial phase of a Food Forest and Eco-Centre at Dartford Science and Technology College

Technology College will support health and well-being, achieve multiple educational outcomes, and enhance biodiversity, for the local community. Located within the school grounds, the project stands to benefit hundreds of students, as well as improving physical and mental health and wellbeing within the wider Dartford community.

The benefits will include the proven mental health support that growing plants and being active outside with other people provides, but also learning about where food comes from, how to grow and cook healthy food and having access to nutritious fruit and vegetables.

Nikolas Pierlejewski, Growing Community Project Officer, The Healthy Living Centre Dartford, said, “Our project is designed to help address some of the most pressing issues of our time, including dependence on unsustainable food systems, biodiversity loss and increasing mental health concerns. This initiative will not only make a positive impact on the students of the Dartford Science and Technology College, but also on pupils from feeder primary schools and the wider community. This is only the first step and ultimately, we want to open sites across Dartford, using communal food growing to improve health and wellbeing, social connections, skills, and knowledge and, potentially, small business creation.”

Josephine McCartney, Chief Executive, Kent Community Foundation, said. “This is one of the first projects to be awarded a grant from our Fund for the Environment. The £4,050 grant will be used towards the first phase of the communal food forest and eco-centre project by funding a promotional

film, a marquee to use as a volunteer hub, materials to construct a temporary composting toilet, and the hire of a digger to prepare the ground to plant sixteen trees and thirty shrubs. Once completed, the project will benefit not only the students by enriching their curriculum but also help the community to understand more about locally grown sustainable food and fits perfectly with the ethos of Kent Community Foundation’s Environmental Strategy.”

To find out more about Kent Community Foundation’s Environmental Strategy and the type of projects that will be supported, visit www.kentcf.org.uk/fund-for-the-environment