Sustainable development and food security has always been one of the main themes of RISC's work. In 2002 we took this further by creating an edible forest garden on the flat roof above the conference hall. Designed as an educational tool using permaculture principles, the garden has become an oasis in the centre of Reading, a demonstration of how a garden can support more sustainable lifestyles and provide a practical solution to the problems of 'peak oil' and global climate change. It has had international media coverage and was shortlisted for the Observer Ethical Garden Award, 2009. It has also inspired two related projects: Global School Gardens and Food4Families.
The RISC roof garden has become a fantastic tool to encourage schools to make full use of their outdoor classroom in every area of the curriculum - a mini Eden project on their own doorstep.
We can design and construct a garden that will enrich children’s learning and reflect your own school community. We can also run training courses for teachers on how they can integrate the outdoor classroom to schemes of work and impress Ofsted inspectors.
Food4Families, funded by the Big Lottery, is a project that aims to create a network of food growing gardens across Reading where parents and children will learn how to grow their own food together. This will enable young people and their families to learn new growing skills, introduce fresh produce into their diets and learn about sustainable living, while schools will integrate the outdoor classroom into the curriculum through practical activities.