” The spirit of the Big Dig is what community gardening is all about “
Join Capital Growth and gardens across the capital to kick off the growing season on this annual volunteer open day. Every spring, hundreds of volunteers pull on their wellies and head outside to help community gardens get ready to grow.
In 2016, in London over 40 gardens took part, welcoming over 750 volunteers to help shovel compost, build trellises, plant seedlings and enjoy a hard day’s work in the company of friends and neighbours.
The Big Dig started as an event run by Capital Growth in 2012 to engage volunteers in their local food-growing space. It was initially funded as a nationwide project, managed by Sustain, recruiting 7,500 new volunteers to take part in community gardening.
Capital Growth have a packed line-up for Roots to Work – an annual conference for people interested in kick-starting or developing a food-growing enterprise or career, with workshops, speakers and networking opportunities.
The event also includes the launch of the Urban Farming Toolkit with our partners, Growing Communities, plus one-to-one advice, as well as our amazing panel of key speakers and a choice of four unique workshops to get you started, or alternatively, take you to the next level. Book NOW to guarantee your choice of workshop. Full line-up below.
Clare who joined Roots to Work 2016 and is currently training with OrganicLea said:
“the conference was so inspiring and useful that I ended up applying for a traineeship with the Castle Garden”
Speakers followed by panel Q&A
Lessons Learnt from Peri-Urban Farming. Alice Holden, Growing Communities- Author of ‘Do Grow’ and head farmer at Growing Communities Dagenham Farm
New approaches to developing livelihoods for Urban Farmers: Brian Kelly, Organiclea
Transitioning from volunteering to making a living: Sara Barnes – Growing Communities Patchwork Farmer and Organiclea trainee
Freelancing: Getting your own business growing. Hannah Schlotter of hannahgrows.com
Advanced growing to sell: An in-depth look at key crops, with a discussion of the advantages and disadvantages they present. This workshop will also explore the topics of management, planning, productivity and value. Joris Gunawardena (Sutton Community Farm)
How to get your urban farm started (based on the Urban Farming Toolkit) – Sophie Verhagen, Head Grower Growing Communities Patchwork Farms
Growing the sector: how can we work together to address barriers for urban food growing enterprise. Nat Mady/Natalie Szarek – Community Food Growers Network (CFGN)
Diversifying income: Securing and diversifying income for community gardens: Julie Riehl – Capital Growth, Sustain
Plus Zooming in on the Future
Book a 15 minute 1:2:1 for advice on getting your career started from Amber Alferoff – Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens
Join Food Growing Schools: London partner Capital Growth on Wednesday 5 July for their summer summit all about health, well-being and growing food in the city.
From mindfulness and garden design, to growing nutrient rich plants and therapeutic horticulture, the afternoon will include workshops and speakers on a variety of topics, plus time to enjoy the onsite permaculture garden and meet other attendees.
Once you’ve got your food growing underway, why not celebrate your efforts by finding out the value of all that you’ve grown?
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.
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.
Fancy a brilliant day of workshops on topics around outdoor learning, school gardening and edible education?
Rhyl Primary School in Camden is hosting their fourth annual Outdoor Learning Conference on Wednesday April 26th, 9:30-3pm. Workshops include Forest School, inspiring maths and writing outdoors, garden design, embedding in school curriculum and guest speakers from the trailblazing Natural Connections Project.
Price is only £60, which includes three workshops and lunch / pizza from our wood fired oven. The school band will perform during lunch. Any profits from the event to the Rhyl Kitchen Classroom project.
Capital Growth spaces can claim a 10% early bird discount if they book before March 1st. Please quote your Capital Growth space number.
This week has seen the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan support innovative London food initiatives at the Urban Food Awards, held at Borough Market. The event was organised by Sustain during Urban Food Fortnight 2016, masterminds behind our FGSL partner project Capital Growth. Among the award finalists were Berrymede Junior School in Ealing who were shortlisted* for Capital Growth’s Growing Enterprise Award, for entrepreneurs generating income from and for their community food gardens, including schools.
Are you inspired by Berrymede Junior School to grow food in your school? Come along to our FGSL Celebration Event at City Hall, opened by the Deputy Mayor of London Joanne McCartney, and find out more about how Food Growing Schools: London can help you do the same. There are only 3 weeks to go before the GLA opens the doors of City Hall to Food Growing Schools: London! Places are limited so book soon.
At the Urban Food Awards Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said: “I salute the breadth and expertise of the huge numbers of Londoners producing and growing the very best food and drink and it’s fantastic to see their entrepreneurship flourishing in our great city”.
Our celebration event takes place on Thursday 13 October 2016, from 10.45 – 1.30pm in the prestigious London’s Living Room at City Hall. It will be a fantastic opportunity to bring together people from across the capital to join us in seeking our ambition to get every London school growing their own food! And you can tuck in to some tasty school-grown produce downstairs in our sixth Schools Marketplace, as part of this Autumn terms Grow Your Own Business activities.
At the event you can meet our expert FGSL partners and hear about school food growing initiatives taking place all across London. Garden Organic as the lead organisation is working together with partners, Capital Growth, the Soil Association’s Food For Life project, the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), School Food Matters and Trees for Cities. The project is supported by the Big Lottery Fund and the Greater London Authority.
Berrymede Junior School launched their Edible Playground in October 2015, with the support of our partners Trees for Cities, School Food Matters and Soil Association Food For Life. In only one year they have achieved so much – from garden fork to enterprising school food project, and now finalists in the Urban Food Awards. Amazing! Forty Hall Community Vineyard scooped the winning prize for Capital Growth’s Growing Enterprise Award. To check out the other winners visit the Sustain website.
Organised by Sustain, Urban Food Fortnight is the capital’s celebration of the fabulous ultra-local produce being grown, produced and cooked on our doorstep. Events will take place across London during these two weeks including pop-up dinners in community gardens, special menus featuring London-grown produce, food talks and more. Try cheese from Tottenham, lamb reared in Enfield and salad grown in Hackney and take inspiration back to your own plot ready for some Autumn sowing and Spring planning. (Capital Growth)
Get a taste of London’s edible gardens as Capital Growth community food growing gardens open their doors and welcome visitors in for free. Events include foraging walks, cob oven pizza feasts, fresh apple pressing, bonfires and musical performances. You can even enter your own school grown produce in a classic vegetable show in Stratford, or take inspiration and get tips on how to grow your own in Bethnal Green.
Check out the map to find out what’s happening near you.
Organised by Trading Visions and Fairtrade Foundation, this conference is to inspire pupils, teachers and support staff in London about Fairtrade. Don’t miss this amazing opportunity to hear two special guests, Esther and Samuel both aged 15, from a cocoa growing community in Ghana, who will speak about the Kuapa Kokoo Fairtrade co-operative that co-owns Divine Chocolate. Other highlights include workshops on cocoa and the impact of Fairtrade, plus a make-your-own smoothie bike, and an opportunity to learn how to taste chocolate properly – yum!
The conference is open to students aged 7-14. Places coste £2 each and are limited to up to two adults and eight students per school. Snacks and drinks for breaks will be provided but please bring a packed lunch.
Our sixth (and final!) School Marketplace in partnership with Capital Growth will be held at City Hall on Thursday 13 October, from 11am to 2pm. All schools within Capital Growth network* are invited to take part, but you must sign up quickly as there are only 15 spaces available.
The FGSL theme for food growing this term is Grow Your Own Businessand the Marketplace is a fine example of schools bringing that theme to life! Schools will once again be joining us to show off and sell their home-grown produce and products, such as jams, chutneys, herbs and winter salad bags.
To celebrate all this fantastic growing, we will be awarding prizes during the day for Best Dressed Stall, Most Enterprising Product and for 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.
We were delighted to have the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan visit our Marketplace event this July. He visited every single stall and said, “It’s great to see these young people growing their own grub and developing entrepreneurial skills.”
Our final Marketplace promises to be just as special, coinciding with a Food Growing Schools: London Celebration Event taking place the same day in London’s Living Room at the top of City Hall. Every delegate will be visiting the Marketplace before the event – no doubt making it our busiest schools market ever!
To apply: Simply download, complete and return the application form to Maddie at firstname.lastname@example.org by Wednesday 28 September:
* If you’re not yet part of the Capital Growth network it’s free and really easy to join so get that done today and then you’re ready to apply to be part of the Marketplace too.
We are delighted to announce that the target for our Growathon Challenge has been met!
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!”
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.
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.