Young Marketeers fight food waste with FareShare

This week the School Food Matters Young Marketeers winter sale schools had an eye-opening visit to the FareShare depot in London.

Getting stuck in

Students from four Southwark schools had the chance to witness the 8,000 tonnes of ‘fit for purpose’ products rescued from waste from the food and drink industry. They also heard about the charities that help to redistribute good food to those who need it most.

Our Young Marketeers were then tasked with putting together an order to be delivered to a charity in Elephant & Castle. This charity transforms the food into nutritious meals for vulnerable families.

Baking a difference

The students will be selling freshly baked bread and soup made from surplus ingredients at the Winter Sale on February 6th at Borough Market with all funds going to FareShare.

Trees for Cities’ Jenny Hindson wins Learning Outside the Classroom Award

From left to right: Martin Giles (Head Teacher at Meridian High), Jenny Hindson (Trees for Cities), Ros Sandell (Head Teacher at Fairchildes Primary) and Councillor Louisa Woodley

Updated 17 Nov 2017.

Congrats to Jenny Hindson and Trees for Cities for winning the LOtC Innovator Award for their Edible Playgrounds work!

Originally published 10 Nov 2017.

The shortlisted nominees for the Awards for Outstanding Contribution to LOtC (Learning Outside the Classroom) 2017 have been selected and we congratulate all the LOtC Heroes who are going the extra mile to help young people experience the world beyond the classroom walls.

The LOtC Awards recognise individuals and teams of people who have made a significant impact on the lives of children and young people through their commitment to providing and/or championing exciting and inspiring learning outside the classroom opportunities.

We’re proud to say that Jenny Hindson, Communities, Engagement and Volunteer Manager at Food Growing Schools: London partner organisation Trees for Cities has been nominated for an award for her Outstanding Contribution to Learning Outside the Classroom.

Edible Playgrounds

Trees for Cities runs an inspiring project called Edible Playgrounds that transforms areas in school grounds into vibrant outdoor spaces that excite and teach children about growing and eating healthy food. By instilling healthy eating habits at an early age, Edible Playgrounds can help to tackle obesity, food poverty and lack of access to nature head on and provide a platform for fun and engaging lessons that support the school curriculum.

We invite you to support their work and to recognise Jenny Hindson‘s dedication for her excellent work and commitment to improving the lives of children and their families.

Nominations Announced

The winners will be announced at the LOtC Awards dinner at Ingestre Hall Residential Arts Centre next Thursday 16th November 2017, following the CLOtC Conference.

Here are the shortlisted nominees for LOtC Innovator (sponsored by YHA):

  • Jenny Hindson, Trees for Cities
  • Matt Hodgson, British Exploring Society
  • Bethan Painter, Environmental Studies
  • Young Egyptologist Workshop Team, The Egypt Centre Swansea University
  • Matt Hodgson, British Exploring Society
  • Bethan Painter, Environmental Studies
  • Young Egyptologist Workshop Team, The Egypt Centre Swansea University

Read the nominations in more detail for LOtC Heroes here.

Colour your garden – London artist offers free mural for your school garden

Could your garden or growing space do with a bright mural? Alessandra Tortone, a London based mural artist is offering to add a splash of colour to your garden!

Garden Organic and Food Growing Schools: London are teaming up with Alessandra to offer you a chance to have a free, bespoke mural (value of £500) painted on a wall or surface in your school or your school’s community garden growing space.

To enter the competition, you’ll need a bright idea and 1-3 concept drawings or artwork, preferably done by pupils involved in gardening at yours school. Here’s how to participate in the competition.

Meet the artist

Maybe you’ve seen Alessandra’s work around London?

One of her most well-known commercial projects has been a collaboration with Paul Sweeney to produce large size wall murals for more than 50 Starbucks coffee shops in the Greater London area.

But about her main passion, Alessandra says, “my favourite projects are children’s murals. They are fun, full of imagination and can transform a space into a magical world. In addition to creating jaw-dropping children’s bedrooms, I worked for a number of nurseries and children’s hospitals in London including Whittington Hospital in Archway and Queensbury Nursery in South Kensington.”

Her journey as an artist started in 2000 in her home of Sardinia, Italy. She says, “though I graduated as an accountant (this career lasted only 20 days!), my passion for painting was stronger. With a support of my family I was able to pursue my true calling. I attended a number of painting and drawing courses in both Rome and Sardinia. As a result, my art works progressed from smaller scale projects into larger wall murals and frescos in private homes and restaurants in Sardinia.”

Ready to participate?

The deadline for submissions is Friday 1 December so don’t hesitate!

Get the full competition details here.

School Food Matters video celebrates 10 years

In the past 10 years School Food Matters have worked with over 30,000 children from London and beyond through their food education programmes.

Their mission is to ensure that every child enjoys fresh sustainable food at school and understands where their food comes from.

Results

One pupil says, “I used to hate pears but now I actually quite like them because I’ve grown them”.

Another adds, “I’ve been cooking for the three years in school and now I love cooking with my mum at home.”

This video celebrates some great moments and reveals some of the positive impacts of connecting children with food through school. Watch below or on Youtube here.

Get involved

Would your school benefit from getting involved with School Food Matters’ initiatives? Find out more here.

 

Autumn teachers’ Food Growing Forum an all-round success!

Food Growing Schools London teams up with other organisations and councils in boroughs across London to get more schools engaged in growing.

October’s food growing forum held after school hours and hosted at St Andrew’s (Barnsbury) Primary School was a great success. 16 teachers from across Camden and Islington participated in the informative and inspiring session by sharing tips and resources from their food growing journey and initiatives.

Nick Ives, Engagement Officer for Food Growing Schools London (FGSL) writes:

“One of the best things about my role is working with fellow food growing enthusiasts – Marjon Willers, a Specialist Dietitian from the School Improvement Service of Islington is certainly one of those!  We connected in the summer term and agreed to hold some food growing forums for teachers after school in the Autumn and Spring terms. Marjon agreed to find a host school and invite participants, my colleague Lisa Grant and I agreed to facilitate the session.

Our hosts Jacqui and King, from St Andrew’s (Barnsbury) Primary School generously welcomed 16 teachers and ourselves for the after school session which lasted an hour and a half.

To make best use of time we structured the session into four phases and encouraged constructive dialogue throughout:

  • a brief introduction from each participant and an expression of what they wanted to get out of the session
  • a demonstration from Lisa of the key features of the redesigned FGSL website
  • a tour from King and Jacqui of the school growing spaces
  • brief plenary to pull ideas together and agree some actions.

Some participants were new to growing, others more experienced. We had plenty of useful discussions, in which we shared relevant experiences and ideas, as well as sign posting to helpful resources and expertise.  Some hoped to find out what to grow through the winter, others wanted to know how to make the best use of limited concrete growing spaces. As facilitators we made sure that every participant had a chance to get their questions addressed.

We encouraged everyone to keep in contact with us at Food Growing Schools: London – firstly to let us know what further support we can offer via our online survey and secondly to sign up for our regular FGSL Newsletter. We look forward to all meeting up again in the spring to share our growing stories some more.

Feedback

This is what participants were kind enough to say about our forum:

  • ‘Well organized, informal and practical. Plenty of ideas to take forward’
  • ‘I have lots of cross curricular ideas now. More ideas for how to involve children in gardening’
  • ‘Found out what to plant in Winter’
  • ‘It’s great to see how another school is using its space and what they are growing’
Get in touch

Would schools in your borough benefit from a session of sharing and discussion like this one? Find out more, get involved and organise a session in your borough, simply email fgslondon@gardenorganic.org.uk or call 02476217747.

 

 

Trees for Cities is hiring for Edible Playgrounds programme

Trees for Cities is an ambitious, far-reaching organisation.

Since its inception they have engaged over 65,000 people to plant 500,000 trees focusing on health, food security, and environmental protection and providing opportunities for education and learning through the Edible Playgrounds and Urban Forest programmes.

Edible Playgrounds transform areas in school grounds into vibrant outdoor spaces that excite and teach children about growing and eating healthy food. By instilling healthy eating habits at an early age, they help tackle obesity, food poverty and lack of access to nature head on, and provide a platform for fun and engaging lessons that support the school curriculum.

Now Recruiting

If you have a passion for food growing in schools and are looking for work in London, there are a couple great opportunities to join the Edible Playgrounds team. The roles of Landscape Coordinator and Project Development Officer are currently available- find out more here.

If you’d like to find out more about Edible Playgrounds, click here.

 

 

 

From Seed to Market – Chris Collins and the Young Marketeers Harvest Sale

“There is nothing like the sound of children taking over a market place!” – Chris Collins.

The Young Marketeers Harvest & Apple Sale is coming up on 5 October at Borough Market. Chris Collins who works with School Food Matters to deliver the project and is best known as a former TV Blue Peter gardener, writes to tell us what this school food growing project is all about:

Young Marketeers is an exciting project that has been running for 6 years with support from various organisations including School Food Matters, United St Saviour’s Charity, FareShare and Garden Organic.

The project focus is on advising schools on food growing and providing workshops to teach primary school children to grow veg from seed with an emphasis on seed to plate, encouraging healthy eating by getting children to grow food. It has, in my opinion, been a resounding success.

Young Marketeers takes things a step beyond growing food and with the help of the famous Borough Market, we introduced an entrepreneurial element, where the food the children grow is taken to market and sold to customers.

There is nothing like the sound of children taking over a market place! They are incredible sales people and they do have the advantage of fresh produce to sell – fresh produce they have personally grown.

There are a real mix of children involved with the project because the schools included are primary, secondary and special needs.

The journey starts with workshops in early spring. That’s where I start getting involved. I undertake these workshops at Borough Market itself and can have 25 schools in two sittings – it’s a giant seed sowing party.

We do two lots of crops; one for a summer sale and one for the autumn sale. I teach them seed sowing in trays, pricking out, sowing in drills and how to look after your plants. This advice can be accompanied by school visits I do from time to time but it’s up to the school and the pupils to grow and present produce for sale at the market when the time comes. The children are also given a tour around the market to get tips on sales techniques and how to set up a stall.

What an effort is made when market day comes – the stalls themselves are always presented in fantastic fashion, with children’s artwork and displays really making the produce stand out. The star of the show though has to be the produce the kids have grown. It’s incredibly rewarding for me to see how closely they have listened and, as always their amazing enthusiasm. You can never tire of gardening with children and this project highlights just how much they get it of it.

I will be at the Autumn Sale on 5 October, representing Garden Organic, School Food Matters and Food Growing Schools: London. We always have some esteemed company as the mayor of Southwark attends and usually the local MP, which in itself attracts the media, creating yet another experience for our young growers.

My work doesn’t end there though as I have the impossible task of picking the winning stall…wish me luck, I’m going to need it!”

Christopher M Collins,
Head of Organic Horticulture
Garden Organic

Are you looking to get your school involved in food growing and enterprise activities? Find free resources on our website to get you started, like our Grow Your Own Business activity pack!

Back to (food growing) school!

Summer holidays are coming to an end but we’re excited to go “back to school” for another year of building on the tremendous success of our Food Growing Schools: London project.

Garden Organic, working with the Food Growing Schools: London project partners, are geared up to deliver support, activities, training and resources to hundreds of participants across the capital as pupils return to the classroom and their school food growing projects.

From growing food in school gardens, to cooking it in school kitchens and selling it at local market events, the Food Growing Schools: London project is giving pupils in our country’s most populous urban centre a chance to live healthier, happier and more environmentally sustainable lifestyles.

There is still a way to go to meet the ambitious objective of getting every school in London growing food but there is certainly lots to celebrate from the first three years of the original project.

Evaluation* of the project’s growing impact in the city has highlighted Food Growing Schools: London’s contribution:

  • 87% of schools are now engaged in food growing*
  • 79% of schools report students are more aware of nature, healthy eating and sustainability
  • 54% of schools report improved behaviour or attainment
  • 25% of schools now link food growing to the curriculum
  • 1,000 school staff and volunteers have received food growing training

Some key achievements include:

  • Six Schools Marketplaces at City Hall – and more in local boroughs
  • Two School Food Growing Conferences
  • Heritage Seed Library Seed Guardian Project – with Garden Organic
  • Schools Oca Growing Project – as part of ‘Grow Around the World’ activities
  • Growathon – engaging over 76,000 pupils in food growing
  • Delivered 40 school assemblies across London to help kick start food growing in schools
  • Partnership with the Food Flagship Boroughs of Croydon and Lambeth
  • Partnership with Borough Councils through the Good Food for London report

You can help

If you want to help give pupils in London the chance to grow food at school, here are a few simple actions you can take to get involved.

Wherever you may live in this great country, we appreciate the support in helping to build our online community and to amplify our voice. Many of our resources, tips and tricks are useful and designed to be used in any part of the country.

If you know someone based in London, why not mention the project to them? For completing our survey they will receive a term-time planner, seeds and also have the chance to win prizes like vouchers or other items.*

  • Be a volunteer and leader in your community

Many schools in London are looking for volunteers, items or funding to kick start or develop food growing projects. Offer your time, knowledge, skills or spare gardening tools to a school near you – find out how.

  • Support charities who stand up for what you believe in

The Food Growing Schools: London project is a partnership of charities. While the FGSL project doesn’t accept charitable donations for funding, the partners who deliver worthwhile projects all across the UK could use your support.

Garden Organic is calling for donations to the Fighting Fund to react quickly and directly when the rights of organic growers are threatened and this is especially important during these turbulent political times.

Want to know more about our partners?

Find out here about the incredible work the other Food Growing Schools: London partner charities are doing and how you can support their work.

 

*All statistics in this article are based on evaluation surveys with lead school teachers in Sept 2013 (n=504) and Jan 2017 (n=313). Evaluation was conducted by Prof Mat Jones, Emma Weikamp (both UWE Bristol) and Hannah Pitt (Cardiff University) Public Health and Wellbeing Research Group, UWE, Frenchay Campus, Bristol, BS16 1QY

*Of the schools that participated in the FGSL survey, the percentage of schools engaged in food growing has risen from 72% to 87% since 2013.

*Free term time planner, seeds, vouchers and prizes are available while stocks last and some items may not be available to everyone.

Food Growing Schools: London is a partnership initiative led by Garden Organic. Garden Organic, the working name of the Henry Doubleday Research Association, is a registered charity in England and Wales (no. 298104) and Scotland (SC046767).

Continue reading “Back to (food growing) school!”