Grow On, Film It! Trees for Cities video competition announced

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION!

Competition: Trees for Cities are calling all schools to make a short film about food growing in your playground/open space. Win amazing prizes for your school:

  • £200 gardening voucher for the 1st prize;
  • £100 gardening voucher for 2nd;
  • £50 gardening voucher for 3rd.

They’ll also send out spring seed packs to all entrants, so there’s plenty of incentive for schools to get on board!

Along with energy company Bulb, Trees for Cities are launching a Grow On, Film It competition for schools to show us the effects food growing has on the pupils and staff.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re growing a few herbs in a small window box or a feast’s worth of different fruits and vegetables in multiple raised beds, we want to see how you do it.

Be as imaginative and creative as you can! Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Say a poem about the garden
  • Tell the story from seed to plate
  • Show us how school life has changed since growing at school
  • Show us how the growing can be incorporated into the curriculum
  • Let us know about your gardening skills and why your plants grow so well
  • Share how the gardening encourages a deeper connection to nature

You might decide to add songs, graphics, comedy – it’s totally up to you, though ensure you keep the films under 3 minutes long. Points will be awarded for imagination, so get those thinking caps on. We can’t wait to see what you produce!

DEADLINE:

The deadline for submissions is Monday 1 October 2018, so please ensure you have your submissions in before then.

You can find all the competition details, how to enter, tips and tricks on the Trees for Cities web page.

Here’s last year’s winning entry for some inspiration!

 

Three London schools launch new Edible Playgrounds

Food Growing Schools: London partner Trees for Cities have recently celebrated Edible Playground launch events at three London primary schools.

Olga Primary in Tower Hamlets, St Anne’s in Lambeth and Gallions in Newham all opened their gardens to guests as they cut the ribbon on their new outdoor growing space.

A number of dignitaries attended, including local ward councillors, members of the senior leadership teams of neighbouring schools, members of Healthy Schools London and even Mayor Christopher Wellbelove from Lambeth Council.

Mayor Christopher Wellbelove at St Anne’s with Trees for Cities staff.

There were speeches, guided tours of the garden space and performances from the children. A particular highlight was a hearing a Year 3 child from Olga Primary describe a salad dish made from tomatoes and basil from the Edible Playground: “Have you ever thought of growing your own juicy, ripe tomatoes? It is a feeling like no other, it is seriously the best feeling ever”.

Olga pupils in their cooking outfits showing their crops.

Each of the schools serves a higher than average percentage of pupils whose first language is not English and each has a higher percentage of pupils who are eligible for free school meals, indicating a higher level of deprivation that the national average.

It is urban schools like this, with little access to nature, that make ideal partners for the Edible Playgrounds programme. The Edible Playgrounds give the children a chance to learn about growing and eating healthy fruit and veg, and to connect with nature in a way that would be very difficult for them otherwise.

Growing themed bunting made by the pupils.

And the impacts on the lives of the children at these schools is tangible. Linda Ewers, Head Teacher at Olga Primary, said: “A bare playground has been transformed,” and “Our children are involved in the whole cycle of growing food – they are interested in what is growing and in the other life that can be found in the garden”.

Gallions’ Edible Playground thriving despite the summer heatwave.

If you are interested in learning more about the Edible Playground programme, and the generous match fund opportunities currently available, head to the Trees for Cities website or get in touch at info@edibleplaygrounds.org.

Turn your ‘Sugar Tax’ funding into an Edible Playground

The Department for Education have published details on the allocation of the Healthy Pupils Capital Fund – money raised from the ‘Sugar Tax’ – and some schools will be eligible for funding that can go towards projects that increase the health and wellbeing of the school.

For schools that receive funding and are looking at ways to develop learning outside the classroom, it will be an excellent time to get in touch with Trees for Cities to find out about the Edible Playground programme.

The HPCF is intended to improve children’s and young people’s physical and mental health by improving and increasing availability to facilities for physical activity, healthy eating, mental health and wellbeing and medical conditions.

With ‘Garden spaces for growing produce’ specifically mentioned within the HPCF guidelines, schools can use their allocation towards paying for the project.

With matchfunds from Trees for Cities’ corporate sponsors covering the majority of the programme price, funding such as the Healthy Pupils Capital Fund will go a long way to plugging the gap.

If you are interested in hearing more about the Edible Playgrounds programme, contact Trees for Cities.

Free trees are back for London primary schools!

Order your free pack of saplings from 15 January for planting with pupils on your school grounds next winter: http://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/plant-trees/free-trees/.

State primary schools which haven’t ordered tree packs previously, or for a long time, are eligible to apply.

This is a fantastic opportunity to get your children outside to learn about nature, improve the local environment at your school and create a much needed home for our urban wildlife. Packs as small as 30 saplings are available, so you don’t need much space to get involved!

Trees for Cities will provide all the necessary support to make you feel confident in planting and caring for your new saplings. They are the London delivery partner for the ‘Trees for Schools’ programme, funded by Defra and delivered in partnership with the Woodland Trust.

Please contact Trees for Cities for more information on 02075871320 or schools@treesforcities.org

Matchfunds for Trees for Cities Edible Playgrounds

Trees for Cities and Bulb, the UK renewable energy supplier, are looking for London schools interested in transforming their playgrounds into food growing spaces and building their capacity to teach through gardening.

The Edible Playgrounds project includes designing and building a bespoke, vibrant and functional teaching garden alongside teacher training, curriculum mapping and other support to build teacher’s confidence and skills to teach outside.

See more about the programme here www.edibleplaygrounds.org

Matchfunding

Through the Bulb partnership Trees for Cities is excited to offer generous matchfunds towards all projects.

Get in touch with Trees for Cities to find out more.

Please contact carys@treesforcities.org or complete an expression of interest form www.edibleplaygrounds.org/early-expression-of-interest

 

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.

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.

 

 

 

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).

Tree-mendous tree survey

Trees for Cities_plantingOur friends and FGSL partners, Trees for Cities want to find out what would help schools plant trees at school or even somewhere near school like a local park. And they need your help!

London schools. Can you help?

Please take 5 minutes to complete their short survey and tell them what the challenges are and how they can help.  They are particularly interested to hear from schools who may never have ordered or planted free trees that are offered to schools annually.

A big thank you

To say thank you for giving your input, they are offering you the chance to win a “Tree-mendous” School Assembly!  All schools completing the survey will be entered into a prize draw to win an assembly from Trees for Cities on the importance and wonder of trees.

‘Trees for Schools’ is funded by Defra and delivered in partnership with the Woodland Trust and Trees for Cities to help schools across London plant trees in or near their school.

Can you help? Complete the big tree survey here.

If you any questions about the ‘Trees for Schools’ programme or this survey please contact jenny@treesforcities.org