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How does your garden grow.

Byline: Hilarie Stelfox ,

Jamie oliver's School Dinners programme highlighted just how ignorant many children are about food and where it comes from.

In one memorable programme a group of youngsters completely failed to correctly identify a tray of common vegetables.

Gardener Jon Every, who recently moved to Yorkshire from his native Henley-on-Thames, thinks that one way to get children interested in good food is to show them how to grow their own.

He is currently involved in a project with Holmfirth High School to create a kitchen garden from which pupils will harvest produce to cook and eat.

"We've done a lot of the preparation and not a lot more can be done at this time of year. But in the spring we'll be planting and I'll be keeping an eye on it through the summer," said Jon.

It was his second school project; the first being a herb garden at Hepworth Junior and Infant School. The garden, sponsored by the Little Herbal Company, which manufactures herbal remedies and is based in the Holme Valley, was part of the school's Eco Club scheme to improve its grounds.

Jon (27) also helped the children clear a stretch of woodland to plant bluebells; create wildlife refuges from woodland debris and seed a native wildflower garden.

Offering his services on a voluntary basis, Jon is a fervent believer that children are never too young to be taught about the natural world.

"It's wonderful for them to be able to watch things grow. Once I'd shown them what to do they realised that they can make a different quite quickly," he explained.

Jon, who lives with his partner Susan Clark and her daughter in Hepworth, runs his own horticultural business and is kept busy managing gardens in and around Huddersfield.

Before moving to this area he was manager of a wholesale nursery and is a past winner of two Hampton Court silver medals as a plant supplier.

While working in the South of England he was also involved in a Carbon Neutral Campaign to help local businesses offset their carbon emissions by planting trees.

Although Jon is now a committed environmentalist and naturalist, he admits that he had little interest in horticulture until taking a job in a plant nursery.

He actually studied for a degree in media and business and had no intentions of ever being a gardener.

"When I went to work in the garden centre I didn't know the difference between a tree and a shrub, but I wanted to know and it was the first time that I'd ever shown a real interest in something.

"What I find so fascinating is that the plant world has infinite possibilities and you will never know everything," he explained.

He went on to get a National Diploma for horticulture at the Berkshire College of Agriculture and was a prize-winning student.

As well as continuing with his work in schools, Jon would like to team up with local artists in gardening related projects. His mother is an artist and he finds inspiration visiting the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

* If you'd like to know more about Jon's projects then call him on 07891064953 or check out www.jontheplantsman@aol.com
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Jan 18, 2006
Words:534
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