Mayor helps tackle child obesity with £42,000 for schools to grow food

19 February 2016

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson MP, today confirmed that 21 schools will share a £42,000 funding pot, allowing them to grow their own food as part of his ongoing drive to tackle obesity in the capital and get young Londoners eating more healthily.

21 schools in Lambeth and Croydon will receive grants ranging between £300 and £3,000 from the School Garden Grants scheme to create or improve edible gardens, which will be used to educate children about the food they eat and help them to lead healthier lives.

Lambeth and Croydon were both selected by the Mayor to be Food Flagship Boroughs last year, working to tackle child obesity through better diets and food education. In a UK first, the boroughs are making changes to the way food is served in schools, hospitals, and – working with major supermarkets and other retailers – on the high street. The aim is to show that joined up thinking can improve health and academic attainment of pupils and also of adults in the local communities they serve.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson MP, said: “I am delighted to be working with Whole Kids Foundation as we introduce this innovative scheme to Croydon and Lambeth – two boroughs that are doing great work to improve diets and attitudes to food.”

“School Garden Grants are a great way to harness the enthusiasm of teachers, children and parents toward eating more fruit, vegetables and quality, affordable food. Eating well helps not only to avoid health problems now and in the future, but has been shown to be a key ingredient to classroom success.”

Projects in Lambeth include:

  • Sudbourne School will receive £2,600 to introduce chickens to their existing school garden. Pupils and parents will be supported by Father Nature, a social enterprise promoting children’s learning through nature and helping young fathers gain gardening skills, build confidence and find employment. Together, they will prepare the site and the eggs will be used in cooking classes and any surplus sold to the school community.
  • Julian’s Primary School will receive £1,170 to create a small shop next to the garden where children can sell produce and products they have grown and made. Children will pick and prepare seasonal produce, make preserves, create a school recipe book, collect and package seeds and grow plants in pots to sell.

Projects in Croydon include:

  • St Giles will receive £3,000 to help build purpose built, wheelchair accessible beds, an outdoor shelter for the pupils, and specialist tools. St Giles is a special school for pupils with physical disabilities, complex medical needs and complex speech and language needs.  This will be the first ever ‘Edible Playground’ in a special school, with a significant amount of additional funding raised by Trees for Cities
  • Shirley High School will receive £799 and is the only secondary school in Croydon that will receive a School Garden Grant. .The garden will be primarily tended by Food Technology students along with disengaged students. The grant will pay for raised beds, basic tools and equipment along with a small storage shed.

The Mayor has teamed up with Whole Kids Foundation to deliver the School Garden Grants scheme. Whole Kids Foundation – the charitable arm of Whole Foods Market – has run the scheme in the US and Canada for five years, with impressive results. Their work there has funded 3,014 school gardens, trained 8,438 teachers and served 3,796,922 students. By encouraging children to plant, nurture, harvest, cook and eat food they have grown themselves, the pilot scheme in London will help them to foster a love of good food and increase understanding of how diet impacts on health.

Benjamin Woodgate from Whole Kids Foundation said: “The more kids know and feel connected to their food, the more curious they become about how things grow or taste, and the more willing they are to try new foods. This is why we believe in edible garden learning spaces.”

For more information on School Garden Grants please visit