These sessions, facilitated by LGNI, took place as part our Soil Association Food for Life Get Togethers Project. They involve people of all ages meeting up in person to enjoy good food and conversation but when we couldn't Cook, Grow and Eat Together face to face, due to Covid restrictions, we did it virtually! Taking part were Healthcare Ireland Nightingale Care Home and Howard Primary School in Dungannon and Sunnymead Care Home & Lisnadill Primary School, Armagh. LGNI realised the need for connection in a time of isolation was so great. Care Homes especially had been impacted with no visitors being admitted.
We devised 2 ‘Virtual Get Togethers’ linked up primary school pupils with their local care home residents using technology, involving 81 young people and 31 older people. Through iPads, large TV screens in communal room, school whiteboards and using zoom and Microsoft teams, groups of pupils and residents could see, hear and converse with each other for an hour each week, enjoying activities that created excitement and stimulation. The third Virtual Get Together is to be delivered Autumn 2021.
The 3 sessions involved:
Getting to know you questions, ‘Show & Tell’ - bringing along most treasured object to show to others and talk about.
Making and eating fruit skewers plus conversation and questions.
Decorating plant pots and planting up wildflower seeds and herbs, conversation and questions, individual and collective performances of singing and poetry. Lots of fun, excitement, smiles and waves during each session. Everyone enjoyed the excitement of seeing and talking to new people, the stimulation and buzz this provided. They have plans to meet up in real time when Covid restrictions permit. 100% of participants.
FFLGT ‘Demonstrator Project’ 2020/21
LGNI facilitated this intergenerational project as part of our partnership with Soil Association Food for Life Sowing, Growing, Sharing and Eating Together Intergenerational initiative. It involved linking 15 residents and 30 pupils to share the joy of food through growing and sowing, in partnership with Food for Life Get Togethers. Due to Covid restrictions the project adapted to take place remotely, after connections had begun at Christmas time with pupils sharing cards and positive messages with the residents. At the start of Spring, each setting were sent sunflower seeds to plant and nurture and had a friendly sunflower growing competition to keep the connections going, sharing photos and videos as they were unable to meet up. The residents sent cards with images of sunflowers and messages of hope to the pupils who appreciated how thoughtful they were. LGNI also sent lettuce, tomato and carrot seeds to sow and they shared photos and videos of their progress with each other. Residents and pupils became really involved in caring for their plants, watering them, and protecting them from bad weather. In isolating, anxious times, growing has been a positive focus that has helped everyone feel a part of something bigger, even though they were working apart. Everyone is eagerly looking forward to the time when it is safe to meet up and finally connect in person to see how each settings’ vegetables and sunflowers are growing, compare notes and make plans for future activities together, maybe even get to harvest their veg and eat together in a socially distanced picnic…Participants have said they find it very relaxing being outside and planting…
Some comments about the project included:
"Had great fun!"
"Found out more about growing different vegetables"
"Happy that we are helping other people”
“Wonderful to receive letters from the children and lovely to be thought about”