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.
This Growing Our Futures work has moved forward with two new projects that bring together healthy living, sustainable lifestyles and growing food locally.
Food4Families, funded by the Big Lottery, will create 15 new school/community allotments. 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.
The Schools Global Gardens Network, funded by DFID, has a nationwide reach. With partners, the Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens, Food for Thought, Garden Organic, RHS Campaign for School Gardening and Roehampton University, RISC will bring the global dimension into the outdoor classroom.