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Blogs | Feb 2024

February update from Jamie’s Farm Waterloo

We’ve enjoyed a fully-packed schedule of school programmes at Waterloo this term. We currently have five six-week programmes underway, with Oasis Academy Southbank, Westminster Academy (in partnership with West London Zone), Pimlico Academy, Haringey Learning Partnership and King Solomon Academy (with West London Zone) all visiting weekly for half-day sessions.

We’ve noticed that young people are increasingly asking to take recipes home, which have been cooked together at the farm, so we’ve been choosing to make food that is healthy, cheap and easy to replicate at home. Favourites this year include warming soups and soda bread, blueberry pancakes and veggie fritters.

Another popular winter pastime on the farm has been pillow-case painting! This was an idea that evolved from the input of visiting young people, and students have taken great pride in transforming donated pillowcase into their national flag or football colours – their choices.  This has prompted lively discussion amongst groups about ‘my country’ and was a great opportunity for young people to share aspects of their culture that they especially enjoy or identify with, whilst making something so personal to each of them.  

Young people and volunteers have helped greatly with turning our mountains of compost that have built up over winter, when everything rots down slower but the contents of the animal pens still come out thick and fast. We’ve been enjoying the fruits of this labour though, spreading our fantastic home-produced compost from previous years over veg and flower beds in preparation for the growing season. 

Some early seed sowing has started at the farm, with young people planting kale, leek and salad leaves in the polytunnels… onions, coriander, peas and lots of flowers are next on the list. It’s exciting to see the first kale and leeks seeds germinate and to look forward to the busy season ahead. 

We are welcoming three young lambs from the Bath farm at the end of February, which will give a fantastic opportunity for our school groups and volunteers to help bottle feed and care for these new arrivals, right in the heart of London. We’ll be saying goodbye in return to our two more mature lamb residents (named Bernard and Larry) who have been on loan to us from Bath these past few months… they are very sweet boys! 

We were particularly taken with a comment from a visiting school staff member after their first visit to the farm this term with a group of young people: “Thank you so much for today! You guys have an amazing provision. It’s like magic!”. 

Some lovely bits of feedback have also been shared from schools that finished their programmes at the February half-term, detailing the differences they’ve seen in young people since coming to the farm. One shared how “A’s wellbeing and sense of optimism towards her future improved since attending Jamie’s Farm in Waterloo and she is better able identify how she may be feeling and identify positives within her life”. 

The first Family Open Day of the year will be on Sunday March 17th, 1 – 4pm. Visitors can drop by anytime to meet the animals, check out what’s growing and enjoy some simple children’s activities. Feel free to bring a picnic to enjoy in our garden – weather permitting!