Best crop yet – 87% of London schools involved in food growing!

Since the launch of the Food Growing Schools: London Partnership in 2013 we have been working hard to help schools across London to grow their own food.  Over the summer we tasked research teams from the University of the West of England (Bristol) and Cardiff University to carry out an independent project evaluation so we could see how we were doing, and we’re pretty proud of the results.

The interim report was launched at City Hall on 13th October 2016 with support from Joanne McCartney AM, Deputy Mayor for London.  You can read the report in full but here are our favourite bits!

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More schools and pupils involved

87% of London schools that completed the Food Growing Schools: London survey* are now involved in food growing, and double the number of pupils are growing food in their schools. Our Growathon engaged 54,000 pupils in food growing in London up to July 2016, and 1 in 4 schools now link food growing directly to curriculum activities, embedding knowledge and skills.

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Improved skills, knowledge and behaviour

Schools have told us that food growing is having a positive impact on the education, health and well-being of their pupils, way beyond just getting their hands dirty and learning outside. 61.7% said students were more aware of nature, healthy eating and sustainability, 76.2% said pupils had enhanced knowledge and skills, and a whopping 79.2% reported improved behaviour or attainment.  That’s got to be something to celebrate!

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Increased community involvement

Schools told us that food growing has helped them to increase involvement from parents and the local community including businesses and voluntary organisations, with around 1,000 volunteers and school staff undertaking food growing training.  FGSL is helping to promote sustainability by creating strong supportive local networks where schools can help each other – sharing experience and knowledge through forums and FGSL’s pan-London school food growing conferences.

Don’t stop now!

Together, we have discovered the huge benefits of growing food in schools – improving young people’s education, health, the environment, the local economy and the impact on the local community. It’s vital now that we all continue to work together to help young people in our schools keep growing and flourishing.

Whether you are already growing food in your school, you wish to get started, or you represent an organisation who can help, here are just a few of our fantastic resources to help you get involved:

Planting seeds for the future

We think this is all pretty exciting but the undeniable benefits of food growing mean we’re keener than ever to improve on our achievements to date. We want to reach every London school and as many pupils as possible, and we want food growing to be more deeply embedded within schools.  We have the help of our wonderful partners but the Food Growing Schools: London project is due to end in March 2017.

We are looking for funding and support to continue to make an impact in schools across London, so if you can help us to reach our goals please contact FGSL Project Manager, Kate Groves: kgroves@gardenorganic.org.uk.

Food Growing Schools: London – Sowing Ideas. Growing Inspiration. Cultivating Futures.

*Figures based on evaluation surveys with lead school teachers in September 2013 (n=504) and July 2016 (n=241). The independent FGSL project evaluation was carried out by research teams from the University of the West England and Cardiff University.

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London schools celebrate food growing success at City Hall

Junior Gardeners’ Question Time at the Food Growing Schools: London Celebration Event at City Hall. The young panellists were from Trafalgar Infant School (Richmond), Rokesly Junior School (Haringey) and Reay Primary School (Lambeth).
Junior Gardeners’ Question Time panelists from Trafalgar Infant School (Richmond), Rokesly Junior School (Haringey) and Reay Primary School (Lambeth). Photo: Jane Baker/Garden Organic.

From strawberry jam to tomato ketchup, and the great British apple to winter salad bags – young entrepreneurs from 10 London schools shared their food growing skills with the public at City Hall on Thursday 13 October 2016. They represent the increasing number of London students experiencing the huge benefits of food growing since the launch of Food Growing Schools: London (FGSL) in 2013.

On Thursday 13 October 2016 during a unique FGSL Celebration Event, students showcased their school-grown produce at the sixth FGSL Schools Marketplace, run in partnership with Capital Growth, and took to the stage in the prestigious London’s Living Room.

The event was opened by Joanne McCartney AM, Deputy Mayor for London, and Deputy Mayor for Education and Childcare, for the Greater London Authority. It included the launch of the FGSL Interim Report (October 2016), showing the wide ranging benefits of food growing. There was also FGSL’s very own Junior Gardener’s Question Time, chaired by former Blue Peter Gardener Chris Collins – with food growing questions answered by children from schools across London.

When he attended the last Schools Marketplace at City Hall, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, 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.”

Students from schools in Croydon, Ealing, Greenwich, Haringey, Kensington and Chelsea, Lambeth, Lewisham, Richmond and Southwark took part, and won prizes as part of the *Schools Marketplace Competition.

Fred Wilcox, RHS Young Gardener of the Year, at the Food Growing Schools: London Schools Marketplace with City Hall staff. Trafalgar Infants School, Richmond. Jane Baker/Garden Organic
Fred Wilcox, RHS Young Gardener of the Year at the Schools Marketplace, selling produce from the Trafalgar Infant School stall (Richmond) to City Hall staff. Jane Baker/Garden Organic

*Schools Marketplace participants and competition prize winners:

  • Athelney Primary School, Lewisham
  • Charlton Park Academy, Greenwich
  • Dormers Wells High School, Ealing
  • Elmwood Primary School, Croydon
  • *Holy Trinity C of E Primary School, Lewisham: Winners – ‘Best Dressed Stall’
  • *Kelvin Grove Primary School, Lewisham: Winners – ‘People’s Choice’
  • Reay Primary School, Lambeth
  • *Rokesly Junior School, Haringey: Winners – ‘Most Enterprising Product’
  • Rotherhithe Primary School, Southwark
  • Trafalgar Infant School, Richmond

Mark Dale-Emberton, Principle at Charlton Park Academy, Greenwich said: “Working with Food Growing Schools: London has helped us re-evaluate and reenergise the staff and students. We have looked afresh at our curriculum and how we can use the food that we grow to improve our meals, health and general wellbeing.”

Since their launch in 2013, Food Growing Schools: London have seen an amazing 25 out of 33 London boroughs step up to promote food growing in schools. The Benefits of Food Growing are impressive and far reaching – showing a positive impact on children’s physical and mental health, environment and education, and the local community and economy. Nearly 80% of schools engaged with FGSL have reported improved behaviour or attainment in students as a result of food growing, and one in four schools now use food growing as a teaching tool linked to curriculum activities. The FGSL report, containing the outcomes of an independent project evaluation by University of the West England, celebrates the successes of this innovative London-wide partnership, led by Garden Organic. The project is supported by the Mayor of London and the Big Lottery Fund.

James Campbell, Chief Executive, Garden Organic said: “I am deeply proud of what we have achieved so far — *87% of London schools are now growing food and considerably more pupils, parents, community members and businesses are involved.”

Speakers at the celebration event included Chris Collins (former Blue Peter Gardener, Broadcaster and Head of Horticulture at Garden Organic), James Campbell (CEO Garden Organic), Judy Orme (Professor of Public Health and Sustainability) and Mat Jones (Associate Professor of Public Health, University of West England).

Chris Collins, Broadcaster and Head of Horticulture at Garden Organic said: “I’m lucky to be out and about meeting students all the time, and it’s been amazing to see the difference Food Growing Schools: London is having in our London schools. The food growing support, resources and expertise the partnership provides is fantastic. Every school should take advantage and get involved!”

Whether you are already growing food in your school, you wish to get started, or you represent an organisation who can help, Food Growing Schools: London is open to all to Get Involved.

Ends


Notes

Jane Baker – Communications Officer, Food Growing Schools: London
07474210703 (PT – Mon to Thurs only)
jbaker@gardenorganic.org.uk
www.foodgrowingschools.org / https://twitter.com/FoodGrowSchools

Spokespeople – Chris Collins (Broadcaster and Head of Horticulture at Garden Organic) and James Campbell (CEO Garden Organic)

Food Growing Schools: London is an ambitious Lottery funded project, supported by the Mayor of London that aims to get every London school growing their own food. 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 Schools Marketplace, organised with FGSL partner Capital Growth, took place as part of Grow Your Own Business 2016. #GYOBusiness

FGSL Interim Project Report (October 2016)*
An independent project evaluation by University of the West England (Bristol), summarising the progress of the programme in its third year, assessing the impacts of FGSL for participants and wider stakeholders, focusing on schools and those supporting school food growing. To download the full report visit: Our Achievements

*Figures based on evaluation surveys with lead school teachers in September 2013 (n=504) and July 2016 (n=241). The independent FGSL project evaluation was carried out by research teams from the University of the West England and Cardiff University.

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Schools Marketplace at City Hall – tomorrow!

Dormers Wells High School, Ealing. Winners of the Best Stall at the FGSL Schools Marketplace at City Hall in October 2015.
Dormers Wells High School, Ealing. Winners of the Best Stall at the FGSL Schools Marketplace at City Hall in October 2015.

Schools Marketplace, City Hall – Thursday 13 October 2016

The day has nearly come for the sixth FGSL Schools Marketplace at City Hall. Students from 10 schools in Croydon, Ealing, Greenwich, Haringey, Kensington and Chelsea, Lambeth, Lewisham, Richmond and Southwark will be taking part, including:

Athelney Primary School – Lewisham
Charlton Park Academy – Greenwich
Dormers Wells High School – Ealing
Elmwood Primary School – Croydon
Holy Trinity C of E Primary School – Lewisham
Kelvin Grove Primary School – Lewisham
Reay Primary School – Lambeth
Rokesly Junior School – Haringey
Rotherhithe Primary School – Southwark
Trafalgar Infant School – Richmond

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.

Join us from 11am – 2pm on the Lower Ground Floor (Map area) to try out some tasty school-grown produce and Autumn treats. The event is organised with project partner, Capital Growth.

Our main FGSL Celebration Event will also be taking place upstairs in London’s Living Room at City Hall, from 10.45am – 1.30pm, with a chance to visit the Schools Marketplace during the day.

City Hall, The Queen’s Walk, London, SE1 2AA

See you there!

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Under 3 weeks to go! Book your FREE City Hall ticket

There are less than three weeks to go until our Food Growing Schools: London celebration event. Have you booked your FREE ticket to join us at City Hall?

The FGSL office is a hive of activity as we prepare for the big day. We are pleased to announce that the event held at London’s Living Room will be opened by Joanne McCartney AM, Statutory Deputy Mayor for London, and Deputy Mayor for Education and Childcare, for the Greater London Authority.

We also have some fantastic activities lined up for you – including Junior Gardener’s Question Time – chaired by former Blue Peter Gardener Chris Collins – with an opportunity for you to get your food growing questions answered!

A Celebration of Food Growing Schools: London

On: Thursday 13 October 2016
From: 10.45am – 1.30pm (please arrive promptly for registration)
At: London’s Living Room, City Hall, The Queen’s Walk, London, SE1 2AA

Join us to celebrate the achievements of the project and to hear about the transformational effects of school food growing first hand from teachers and pupils that have been involved.

Hear inspirational presentations from guest speakers, look at the findings of our research and have the opportunity to network over a tasty lunch. You can also buy school-grown produce at our fabulous Schools Marketplace downstairs!

Whether you are already growing food in your school, you wish to get started, or you represent an organisation who can help – this event is for you. All welcome!

See our previous blog for more details and how to book!

Mayor of London supports London food events

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.

FGSL City Hall event – only 3 weeks to go!

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”.

Book your place  at our City Hall event

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.


*Notes

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.

Enterprising Croydon Schools hold Marketplace

Thursday 20 October 2016, 1.00pm – 2.00pm. FREE ENTRY.
Croydon Clocktower, Katharine Street, CR9 1ET

On Thursday 20 October, enterprising schools in the Food Flagship borough of Croydon will be hosting their very own Schools Marketplace at the Croydon Clocktower. Their second local Schools Marketplace coincides with this Autumn term’s Grow Your Own Business activities which see schools all across London growing, harvesting, packaging, promoting and selling in their local communities.

The lucky Croydon schools will show off their school grow produce from 1-2pm, selling everything from locally grown fresh fruit to vegetables, herbs, plants, jams and chutneys, all on sale for competitive prices! The Schools Marketplace is free to enter and open to all. So roll up, roll up and do your shopping in Croydon, but be careful to get there quickly before you miss out on all these edible treats. You may even find something tasty for your lunch there too! For more information about this event please email laura.flanagan@croydon.gov.uk

Don’t miss out on another exciting opportunity – the sixth FGSL Schools Marketplace at City Hall taking place on Thursday 13 October 2016, and our fantastic FGSL Celebration Event, hosted by the GLA in the prestigious London’s Living Room at City Hall on the same day.

Visit our Training and Events page to find out about more school food growing and enterprise activities taking place near you this Autumn.

 

Celebrating our success – a City Hall event

FGSL growing activities at the Edible Garden Show. Photo: Jane Baker/Garden Organic
FGSL growing activities at the Edible Garden Show. Photo: Jane Baker/Garden Organic

We are delighted to announce that we will be celebrating the success of Food Growing Schools: London (FGSL) with a special event in the London’s Living Room at City Hall on Thursday 13 October, from 10.45am to 1.30pm, including lunch.

The event will be hosted by the GLA and opened by the Deputy Mayor of London Joanne McCartney. It will be a fantastic opportunity to bring together people from across the capital that have been part of our journey and that join us in our ambition to get every London school growing their own food!

Coinciding with our final Schools Marketplace in partnership with Capital Growth at City Hall, everyone coming to the event will also have the opportunity to visit the 15 stalls held by children on the Lower Ground floor. As always, schools will showcase their food growing by selling school grown produce and products such as chutneys, jams, herbs and winter salads. What better way to start our FGSL celebration than to see enterprising schools at work! The Schools Marketplace takes place as part of Grow Your Own Business activities this Autumn term.

Speakers at the celebration event include Chris Collins (Broadcaster and Head of Horticulture at Garden Organic), James Campbell (CEO Garden Organic), Professor Judy Orme MFPH (MSc Health Promotion), and Mat Jones MPhil, BA, PG Cert (University of West England) who will share the great successes of Food Growing Schools: London to date.

It will be a chance to look at why food growing is important and the transformational impact it can have on children and schools that get involved. We will hear first-hand from teachers and children about the benefits and why they think EVERY school in London should grow their own food.

To find out more and to book a place visit Eventbrite.

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Sixth Schools Marketplace Returns to City Hall

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

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 Business and 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 maddie@sustainweb.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.

Discover more FGSL Training and Events this Autumn Term.

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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@gardenorganic.org.uk

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: www.twitter.com/FoodGrowSchools #GYOBusiness

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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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