Sow it. Grow it. Sell it!

Schools Marketplace City Hall. Photo: Jane Baker/Garden Organic
Schools Marketplace City Hall. Photo: Jane Baker/Garden Organic

From strawberry jam to tomato ketchup, and the great British apple to winter salad bags – young entrepreneurs are bringing harvest time to the city. From September to December 2016, schools across London are rolling up their sleeves to take part in Grow Your Own Business, a city-wide celebration of school food growing, enterprise and learning, creating young entrepreneurs and healthier local communities.

With the expert guidance of the Food Growing Schools: London partnership, students can learn the secret to starting their own school food growing business, raising money for their school, developing employment skills and selling healthy, home-grown food to and with their local community. Download our FREE schools activity pack to find out how.

The highlight of the term sees the Mayor of London’s Food team opening the doors of the prestigious City Hall, for the Schools Marketplace, on Thursday 13th October 2015 from 11am to 2pm. The event is organised with project partner, Capital Growth. Enterprising schools who plan for a bumper crop can apply here to be one of only 15 schools to have a free marketplace stall by Wednesday 28 September.

We are also excited to be hosting our FGSL Celebration Event, from 10.45pm to 1.30pm upstairs in the Living Room at City Hall. This is an invitation only event. To register your interest in attending, email:

Schools that succeed in securing a stall at the Schools Marketplace will be entered into our Marketplace Competition, celebrating the most enterprising schools with prizes being given out on the day. Categories will include the Best Dressed Stall, Most Enterprising Product and the People’s Choice of their favourite stall.

We will also announce the winners of our FGSL Schools Survey Prize Draw, with prizes including a meal for two at Wahaca worth £50 and a visit from the FGSL team to give one-to-one gardening support. Last chance to win by completing our survey.

Why Grow Your Own Business? Grow Your Own Business offers schools the opportunity to learn about enterprise through growing and selling food, giving children the chance to learn new business and employment skills, across a range of subjects (e.g. maths, technology, PSHE). Enterprise activities can engage students of all ages and capabilities, even those children who aren’t interested in the garden or healthy eating.

Download our FREE Grow Your Own Business 2016 schools activity pack.

Share your enterprise stories and tweets here: #GYOBusiness




Edible Playgrounds launches ‘Grow On, Film It’ short film competition

4 January 2016

Edible Playgrounds (EP), a project by Trees for Cities, is inviting London food growing schools, to participate in its new ‘Grow On, Film It!’ short film competition.

EP will ask school pupils to create short films about planting, sowing, growing, gardening, and harvesting healthy food at school. Horticulturalist and Trees for Cities patron Chris Collins will be judging the competition with £600 worth of gardening and growing equipment up for grabs and the winning entry featured on the EP and Food Growing Schools: London websites.  Entries close: Friday, 17 June 2016

‘Grow on, Film It!’ will run in conjunction with Food Growing Schools: London’s #Growathon –  which aims to inspire 10,000 London students to get growing and join the biggest school food growing challenge of the year.

Kate Sheldon, Acting Chief Executive said “We’re delighted to be launching ‘Grow On, Film It!’ as part of Food Growing Schools: London’s #Growathon. More and more schools are valuing the importance of teaching children about growing and eating healthy foods. ‘Grow On, Film It!’ will give schools and students the ability to showcase that.”

Edible Playgrounds transform outdoor areas in school grounds into fully functional food growing spaces, giving children the opportunity to grow, harvest and eat good food. EP get children living in urban areas excited about growing food and understanding where food comes from.

The charity has already created over 25 Edible Playgrounds in London and in cities across the UK.

For more information visit:

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.


Growing an Edible Playground community

Growing an Edible Playground community

Edible Playgrounds, a Trees for Cities Programme that transforms areas in school grounds into vibrant food growing spaces, are springing up around the country and addressing several key areas of concern around children’s health.  They teach pupils where food comes from, that healthy food can be the easy choice, in and out of school and also encourage physical activity.

Trees for Cities are working  in partnership with schools across the UK to create an outdoor allotment with raised beds, orchard, compost, wormery, greenhouse and an outside classroom.  Early in the year they work with teachers and pupils to prepare the soil and sow seeds to grow plenty of tasty produce ready for harvesting throughout the spring and summer terms.  The apple orchards and raspberries provide a fruitful autumn harvest and students continue to grow crops throughout the winter.

“The outdoor classroom provided by our edible playground has become a popular learning hot spot and supports the whole primary curriculum”, Helen Carvell and Tracey Langridge, Head Teachers at Rockmount Primary School in Croydon.

Trees for Cities not only builds the garden from scratch, they also work with the whole school community for an academic year – children, teachers, parents, governors and caterers to build the capacity of the school to teach through gardening and to embed learning into the school curriculum.

Celebrating the opening of Edible Playgrounds across the UK

Over the last couple of months, Trees for Cities has been busy organising launch events at schools, celebrating the opening of five new Edible Playgrounds that are already showcases for all the fantastic work the pupils have been doing to grow their own nutritious food.

A great harvest of beans! Palmer Academy, Reading - Edible Playground LaunchX Factor finalist opens Reading’s first Edible Playground

X Factor 2009 finalist, Danyl Johnson, was joined by Rob Wilson MP, the Mayor of Reading and Michelin Star chef, Dominic Chapman to officially open the first edible playground in Reading at the Palmer Academy.  The garden was thriving and all guests were impressed by the phenomenal crop of lettuce, peas, beans, carrots, radishes and strawberries that the children had been growing.


From Plant to Plate - Student Chefs with their freshly made canapesCroydon schools develop Edible Playgrounds

The Edible Playground team have been busy working with three schools in Croydon – one of London’s two food flagship boroughs, to develop their edible playgrounds.  Last month they launched three Edible Playgrounds in one week at Rockmount Primary, Fairchildes Primary/Meridian High and St Giles School.  The edible playgrounds were bursting with life and children used produce from the garden to make canapés for each launch, with the help of Chefs Adopt a School.


Barney from Blue Peter at the launch of the Edible Playground at Baguely Hall Primary, ManchesterA surprise visit from Blue Peter
The pupils at Baguley Hall primary school in Manchester had all written letters to Blue Peter telling them what they had been learning about and growing in their edible playground. Blue Peter presenter, Barney Harwood was so impressed he decided to come to the school in person to deliver a well earned green “Blue Peter” badge to each pupil. All the children have been enjoying the experience and opportunities that their edible playground has given them, especially tasting the fresh fruit and vegetables!  Trees for Cities have created over 30 Edible Playgrounds across the UK and with support from players of the People’s Postcode Lottery, have been able to extend their work to Reading, Manchester and Liverpool.  They have also formed valuable partnerships with Chefs Adopt a School, where chefs cook with pupils using Edible Playground produce and School Food Matters, who are supporting schools to achieve their first Food for Life Award.

To find out how your school could get an Edible Playground visit our website or email us on



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.




Sadiq Khan savours homegrown treats from London schools at City Hall

The Mayor of London opened the doors of City Hall to welcome six London schools to hold their very own Schools Marketplace on Thursday 14 July 2016. The event showcased delicious food grown in London’s schools – from salads, chards, rocket, beetroot, potatoes and herbs, to home made products such as plum jams and mango chutneys, tasty elderflower cordials, mint dips and more.

The Schools Marketplace event is part of the  Growathon initiative, which aims to get 50,000 pupils involved in food growing by the end of the summer term, run by the FGSL.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, visited every stall and said:

“I’m really pleased to host the Schools Marketplace in City Hall. I want to help Londoners to have access to better food, and lead healthier lifestyles, so it’s great to see these young people growing their own grub and developing entrepreneurial skills.”

Sadiq Khan with pupils at Marketplace 16
Sadiq Khan with pupils at Marketplace 16. Photo: Maria C. Bada/ Garden Organic

The Schools Marketplace was organised by FGSL and partner Capital Growth, who were delighted with the number of schools that took part in this and another initiatives as part of its Growathon campaign, which also included a film competition and other marketplace events across London.

Chair of the London Food Board, Rosie Boycott, said:

“These young people have shown that with some hard work and only a small amount of money you can create a wide range of food and drink using ingredients you have grown yourself. By starting young they’re laying the groundwork for a lifetime of enjoying their own produce.”

Sadiq Khan_Rosie Boycott_Summer Sale School Marketplace 2016
Photo: Maria C. Bada / Garden Organic

As well as produce stalls, an award ceremony for the Capital Growth “Showcase your Growing Competition” took place at 1.30pm. Judged by Chris Collins, best known as the former TV Blue Peter gardener, the winning schools (Selwyn Primary School – Newham, Glebe School – Bromley and Copenaghen Primary – Islington, were given prizes, including a great set of Bulldog Tools.

Former TV Blue Peter gardener, Chris Collins, said:

“It’s brilliant to see schools getting involved in food growing and enjoying themselves whilst they’re at it. Not only are young people learning where our food comes from, they’re also getting healthy, gaining valuable skills and learning to be enterprising by selling their produce at Marketplace events like this one today!”

During the ceremony, the winners of Capital Growth’s ‘Harvest-ometer Challenge’ were also annouced. The challenge inspired and helped schools to grow and measure their harvest with an online tool that calcualtes the value of your harvest. Trafalgar Infant School, Richmond won the “Most food grown per Sqm” award; Charlton Manor Primary School, Greenwich, the “Biggest range of produce” title and Ambler Primary School, Islington, was nominated as “Growing School Hero”.
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, a visit from the highly skilled FGSL gardening team and freebies to support their school’s food growing activities.





Grow On, Film It! competition: 2016 winners announced!

In celebration of Food Growing Schools: London’s #Growathon – the biggest school food growing challenge of the year – Trees for Cities ran a short film competition about planting, sowing, growing, gardening, harvesting and eating good food at school! They had a number of amazing entries and after careful consideration the panel of judges (which included Horticulturalist and Trees for Cities patron Chris Collins; Stephanie Wood, Founder of School Food Matters; Colette Bond, Head of Education, Garden Organic and Kate Groves, Project Manager, Food Growing Schools: London) have picked the winners.

This year’s winner of the Grow On Film It! competition is Copenhagen Primary School in Islington.  Copenhagen have won £500 worth of gardening equipment and their school’s film will be shown at the coming Schools Marketplace event at the City Hall on Thursday 14 July.

The runner up prize was awarded to Meridian High School in Croydon who get £100 worth of gardening and growing equipment. A special mention went to Midfield Primary School in Bromley for their great contribution called “Snail on a Trail”.

Every school submitting a short film will receive a seasonal growing pack

Watch the winning entries



Young Marketeers at Borough Market

June sees School Food Matters Young Marketeers schools receiving visits from the team at Food Growing Schools London. Skilled horticulturists will be on hand to deal with any veg related problems to ensure a bountiful crop to sell at Borough Market.

In April and May, the students had two training days at Borough market on seed sowing and market trading followed by a visit to the Fareshare depot.

The project culminates in two sales days, with half the schools selling their produce on the summer sale on July 7 and the other half at the harvest sale in October. This project allows children from 16 schools to sell food they have grown at school at Borough Market, the proceeds of any sale going to the charity Fareshare.

FGSL Barnet Forum: food growing inspiration for schools

Food Growing Schools: London are inviting all the schools in Barnet interested in food growing projects to a forum at Chalgrove Primary School, Chalgrove Gardens, Finchley, N33PL on Wednesday 22nd June from 3.30 to 5.30pm.

This forum is a chance to gain inspiration and ideas from another food growing school, share ideas and learn something new through a seasonal activity run by Food Growing Schools: London. We would also like these forums to act as a swap shop, so please bring along seeds, plants, tools and educational resources you would either like to share, give away or swap with other schools.
There will  be also plenty of free seeds and resources available from Food Growing Schools: London.

These forum meetings are open to anyone from Barnet schools involved in or wishing to develop a food growing project including staff, parents, volunteers.

Please contact FGSL Engagement Officer Paul Sadler at to confirm you would like to attend

Celebrate Empty Classroom Day – Friday 17th June

Empty Classroom Day is a day to celebrate and inspire learning and play outside the classroom, and we want YOU to get involved! Food Growing Schools: London is supporting this amazing initiative inviting all the schools in London to grow food

Join schools from across the world in taking at least one class outdoors, and then see if you can get the rest of your year group outside or maybe your whole school? This year we are focussing on playtime too, it’s just as important as the rest of the school day!

Check out the resources page for inspirational lesson plans, posters and advice on how to make Empty Classroom Day brilliant and how to sustain outdoor play and learning all year round.

Empty Classroom Day this year is part of a GLOBAL campaign, backed by Persil’s Dirt is Good movement, so there will be loads of opportunities to share not only with schools across the UK, but across the world.

Be part of a movement that gets children outdoors at school every day!

And if you grow food outside on Friday 17th June within Empty Classroom Day initiative, you will be joining also in the Growathon Challenge, a FGSL campaign which aims to get 50000 students growing food in London by the end of Summer 2016.