Trees for Schools – available now!

Trees for Cities have teamed up with the Woodland Trust to offer hundreds of London primary schools free tree packs. We think trees and hedgerows can go hand-in-hand with your food-growing school gardens, so find out more about Trees for Schools here while supplies last!

http://www.treesforcities.org/projects/schools

Edible Playgrounds offer to 8 London Schools

Photo credit: Edible Playgrounds

Food Growing Schools: London partner Trees for Cities is excited to announce that they have received generous funding for Edible Playgrounds in London this year.

Trees for Cities and Bulb, the renewable UK gas and electricity supplier, are looking for eight London schools interested in an Edible Playground in 2017.

The Edible Playgrounds project includes the design and build of an edible playground – a vibrant functional teaching garden – alongside full educational support for one year to identify curriculum links, train teachers and give them confidence to teach outside. See more about the programme on their website.

Trees for Cities would like to speak to any interested schools before the end of Summer Term (21 July 2017). They are particularly interested in schools that have a high level of need amongst pupils (for example, schools in deprived areas), with senior leadership support and available space in their playground. Schools will also need some budget – Bulb will fund at least 60% of each project, with the school contributing the rest.

Get in touch with Trees for Cities to find out more by email or complete an expression of interest form.

Food Growing in Schools: Research Round-up

The benefits of food growing reach far beyond improving gardening skills and teaching children where food comes from and the FGSL partnership has gathered lots of evidence to show this.

Research round upTrees for Cities (TFC) have worked with 50 schools to create Edible Playgrounds. These spaces are a fun way to teach children new skills, enrich food education and get food growing into the curriculum.

TFC identify some of the key challenges that food growing helps to tackle:

  1. Children have a disconnect with nature and understanding where food comes from:

33% of pupils in UK primary schools believe cheese comes from plants.

25% believed that fish fingers come from chicken or pigs.*

  1. Mental and physical health problems are widespread:

Latest figures from Public Health England show that a third of 10-11 year olds and over a fifth of 4-5 year olds are overweight or obese.

1 in 10 children have a diagnosable mental health disorder.

So how are pupils benefitting from food growing?

Improved skills, knowledge and behaviour

Over 90% of head teachers said their Edible Playground had increased students’ gardening skills, knowledge of the environment and food origins and uptake of fruit and vegetables.

Lots of schools have been using the playground to run therapy sessions for SEN children or those with anger management issues.

70% of schools surveyed said the playgrounds have supported work with SEN students or those with challenging behavioural issues.

“It has a very calming effect on some pupils with significantly challenging behavioural difficulties”  Rockmount Primary School.

RHS research has also found that gardening can help children to develop ‘a more resilient, confident and responsible approach to life’.

Food growing used as a teaching tool

All of the Head Teachers surveyed use their edible playground for maths and science lessons, as well as for English and art (92%), design and technology (76%), geography (30%), languages (23%), RE and ICT (15%) and history (7%).

1 in 4 schools now link food growing to the curriculum**

These positive findings echo the results of the independent FGSL evaluation 2016, that also shows how food growing in schools increases links between schools and local businesses, organisations and volunteers and brings significant value to schools that are part of the programme.

Read the full FGSL report and more about the TFC research results.

*surveyed by the British Nutrition Foundation in 2013.  **FGSL Figures based on evaluation surveys with lead school teachers in September 2013 (n=504) and July 2016 (n=241).

Value your school grown produce

Once you’ve got your food growing underway, why not celebrate your efforts by finding out the value of all that you’ve grown?

How much does your garden grow? Use the Harvest-ometer to find out!
How much does your garden grow? Use the Harvest-ometer to find out!

Food Growing Schools: London partner Capital Growth have developed a simple tool to track what your school grows in kilograms and pounds. It also produces graphs, perfect for motivating volunteers and pupils, and showcasing your work to the school and parents!

During the first two seasons of the Harvest-ometer over 189 growing spaces grew enough food to contribute to a whopping 502,000 meals, weighing over 40 tonnes and valued at £288k.  Capital Growth also found an estimated £2.4m of food is being grown each year across their network, which includes community growing spaces, as well as schools.

Harvest-ometer facts

Salads, squash, courgettes and potatoes are the most popular crops being grown in London.

The average yield per Square metre is just less than £3.50 per square meter.

How can schools and growing spaces get involved?

To use the Harvest-ometer sign in or sign up to the Capital Growth member’s area and click on ‘The Harvest-ometer Challenge.’

If you have any questions, big or small, just get in touch with maddie@sustainweb.org

Need help to get growing? Join a Capital Growth training session and check out the FGSL Resources.

Access Jamie Oliver’s Kitchen Garden Project exclusively through Food for Life

We’re delighted to let you know that Food for Life has formally teamed up with Jamie Oliver’s Kitchen Garden Project to give all Food for Life schools and nurseries EXCLUSIVE ACCESS to their beautiful food education and growing resources.

Get involved: Jamie Oliver and Food For Life's Kitchen Garden Project
Get involved: Jamie Oliver and Food For Life’s Kitchen Garden Project

The partnership means that the Kitchen Garden Project digital resources will be available to all schools who sign up to the Food for Life Membership or Awards Packages.

The resources include delicious Jamie Oliver recipes for children, lesson plans, helpful teaching notes, growing units, curriculum-linked activities and nutrition information, all tailored to primary school-level cooking lessons and activities for garden-based learning.

A single subscription to both food education programmes means that you will have even more flexibility and support around practical cooking, growing and food-based learning.  Schools who have already been working with Food for Life and the Kitchen Garden Project have told us how well the resources complement each other.  We hope you think so too!

Find out more and see a sample of the resources

Grandparent Gardening Week!

Grandparent Gardening Week. Soil Association Food for Life. shutterstock_180987194It’s that time of year again. Every Spring FGSL project partners Soil Association Food for Life (FFL) encourage schools around the UK to get growing – with the support of grandparents! Grandparent Gardening Week takes place from 27-31 March 2017.

For beginners, food growing in school can seem a little daunting, but with the right support from the local community it can be surprisingly fun, and a great opportunity for all generations to learn together using the garden. Grandparents often come with bags of gardening enthusiasm, knowledge, experience and time to share with the younger generations. That’s why they’re perfect for helping in schools too.

Hosting a gardening activity
Ask  a team of students to lead the Grandparent Gardening Week activities, involving your school cook and DT lead. Ask what crops they would like to see grown, think about where they might plant them or how your school cook could use them in their recipes, linking the crops with the kitchen and classroom learning. Share ideas and plans across the school to involve everyone in the fun! The Food for Life Awards Package provides plenty of expert growing resources, including Garden Organic growing cards. For a template poster, media invite and press release visit: Grandparent Gardening Week.

Spring into Growing – Plan it. Build it. Grow it!
You can also dip into FGSL Spring into Growing 2017 resources to help you get growing together on Grandparent Gardening Day. For more ideas on how to work with your local community visit FGSL Support.

Get your grandparents involved – happy growing together!

Grandparent Gardening Week

New shoots: over 50,000 students happily growing food across London

We are delighted to announce that the target for our Growathon Challenge has been met!

Trafalgar Infant_1_Marketplace 2016_City Hall
Photo: Maria C. Bada/Garden Organic

Launched in October 2015, the Growathon was the biggest school food growing challenge of the year, with a target of getting 50,000 pupils involved by the end of the school summer term. The target has been exceeded with 54,168 school children reportedly involved in food growing activities, such as eco gardening clubs, seed saving projects and markets to sell their homegrown produce and products, such as jams and chutneys.

Schools have been able to log their activities on the Growathon website, where a Carrot Totaliser showed the numbers grow over the last 10 months.

Colette Bond, Head of Education at Garden Organic, said:

The Food Growing Schools: London partnership has been encouraging schools to grow food since 2013 and we’re delighted to report that over 50,000 pupils are already enjoying the benefits. From improved health and wellbeing and developing an understanding of where our food comes from to developing skills and confidence, the Growathon campaign highlights all the great things that come from food growing in schools. Congratulations to all the London children that took part!”

Borough Market_Young Marketeers
Photo: School Food Matters

The FGSL partnership brings together the very best of London’s food growing expertise, information and support to inspire and equip every school in London to grow their own food.

The partnership is led by Garden Organic and includes Capital Growth, the Soil Association’s Food For Life Partnership, the Royal Horticultural Society, School Food Matters and Trees for Cities. The project is funded by the Big Lottery Fund and has also been supported by the Mayor of London.

Former TV Blue Peter gardener, Chris Collins, said:

It’s brilliant to see the number of kids involved in food growing climbing the way it is. I’m a big supporter of the Growathon campaign and I’m thrilled to see that the target has been smashed by the end of the school year!”

FGSL are planning an event to celebrate the success of the Growathon and the project in its final year at City Hall in October 2016. This will coincide with their second annual Schools Marketplace event, the first of which was attended by the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and took place in July.

London schools can access free support, tips and materials by completing the Food Growing Schools: London survey. Every school that completes the survey will be entered into a draw to win some fantastic prizes, including a meal for two worth £50 at Wahaca.

 

Summer School Marketplace events across London

Students across London have been working hard tending to their gardens and allotments all term, and the crops have been bountiful.  Marketplace events held this month, have seen them to come together to sell the produce from their plots and the yummy treats they have made, and what a success they have been.

Kicking off in Croydon on 5th July was the borough’s first ever schools food market.  Children from 16 local schools sold their wares to Croydon residents who were delighted to grab a healthy bargain whilst helping the students to develop their business and communication skills.

CCollins_ Sharon Hodgson_Young Marketters_Borough Market 2016
MP for School Food Sharon Hodgson and Chris Collins at Young Marketters, Borough Market. Photo: Kate Groves/ Garden Organic

On 7th July Borough Market was the venue for the School Food Matters’ Young Marketeers to pitch their stalls.  Students sold a range of produce including peas, spinach, potatoes, beetroot and herbs, and their stalls proved to be as busy as the rest of the bustling market.

Amongst the crowds were the MP for School Food Sharon Hodgson, Mayor of Southwark Kath Whittam and the Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, Bishop of Southwark.  All proceeds from the event were donated to FareShare to provide meals for vulnerable families.

On 12th July it was the turn of Tower Hamlets to host a magnificent marketplace with students from a number of local schools offering almost everything you could think of!

Last but certainly not least some savvy students made their sales at the City Hall Schools Marketplace on Thursday 14th July.  Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan and Rosie Boycott, The Mayor of London’s Food Advisor and Chair of the London Food Board, visited the stalls hosted by six London schools and was difficult to choose from the huge array of edible treats grown and made by the students.

There are many more school marketplace events happening across London throughout the year. And if you haven’t yet started on your school food growing journey, we can give you lots of free advice and support to help you on your way.

To get involved, sign up to receive our newsletter and be the first to find out where and when the next events are.

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