Sign up now for FREE to read our insider reviews in full Sign Up Now

School launches Eco Fest with collaboration with Barefoot Running Farmers.

Hazlegrove's Eco Fest provided a fantastic launch pad to kick-start a life-long commitment to greater sustainability and eco awareness and welcomed the expertise of Ben Goldsmith, Green Up Your Act and regenerative farming business, Higher Farm.


Connecting with sustainable farmers and well-known conservationist, Ben Goldsmith, Hazlegrove Prep School used its annual festival this year to highlight its new drive for sustainability and all things Eco. Hazlegrove's Eco Fest is a week-long festival that aims to ensure that every child in the school has a sense that their place in the world matters, and that everyone has a part to play in ensuring that the world is as clean and protected as possible.

The festival’s patron, conservationist Ben Goldsmith is well known for his views regarding the positive impact that nature has on all aspects of our lives and the need to rewild areas wherever possible. The school also launched its annual festival with an exciting collaboration with Higher Farm, in Somerset, a regenerative food and farming business. Higher Farm, led by brothers Matteo and Giacomo Grasso and colleague Basil Gibson will be creating an exciting new kitchen garden project with Hazlegrove which they plan to roll out to other schools. In order to raise funds, the intrepid farmers are running three marathons in just three days barefoot along the Jurassic Coast.

Matteo said, ‘Our project is focused on supporting a future for local, natural and accessible food. Our vision with this fundraiser is to set up a kitchen garden at Hazlegrove Prep, to provide nutritious, organic and sustainable food, and to incorporate the pupils, offering an educational experience growing and learning about food. We are partnering with Hazlegrove Prep and if we can raise more funds, we will be able to work with more schools.’ Speaking to BBC Somerset, Matteo said, ‘I started experimenting barefoot around the farm and thought maybe I can use this to make my challenge a bit more challenging’.

Mr Benbow said, ‘We are so excited to be working with Matteo, Giacomo and Basil and their vision to increase localisation of food whilst supporting local economies and making good food accessible to everyone sits perfectly with our aim of Eco Fest. We are also extremely lucky to have Ben Goldsmith, a passionate environmentalist, as our patron this year and as well as supporting his Iris Project charity which helps outstanding young individuals in finding solutions to the climate and ecological crisis, we will also be supporting the Young People's Trust for the Environment'.

Ben Goldsmith said, 'The Hazlegrove Eco Fest is a brilliant idea. Sitting among the ancient Somerset oaks, overlooking the once-shimmering landscape of the Somerset levels, pupils at Hazlegrove are about as connected with nature as it's possible to be. Children, more than any of us, need a connection to nature if they are to thrive'.

The programme for the festival included talks from the Young People's Trust for the Environment (YPTE), Green Up Your Act delivered hands-on Eco workshops to teach the children how to limit their ecological footprint, the children created wind-turbines and solar panels, they studied a broad range of eco-themed topics throughout the week including the impact of synthetic fertilisers and global climate targets, they recycled and reused items to create sustainable gifts and had a full school 'Swap-Shop' where everyone found new homes for pre-loved items. Budding artists in the school repurposed fabrics to stage a fashion show and they even learnt a rap song in French about sustainability as well as using PSHE sessions to look at empathy and develop a greater understanding of neighbours and cultural approaches to sustainability.

March 2024