In June 2014 two pilot boroughs, Croydon and Lambeth, were awarded Food Flagship status by the Mayor of London for two years to engage schools, local businesses and the wider community around healthy eating. From school food growing and education around healthy diets to learning how to cook nutritious foods, both boroughs have made huge leaps towards making healthy food the norm for everyone. 57 schools in Croydon have increased levels of food growing – a fantastic way to encourage the next generation of healthy eaters!
But you don’t have to be based in Croydon or Lambeth to get support. The Food Growing Schools: London Interim Report launched in October 2016 found that 25 of the 33 London boroughs now promote food growing in schools.
Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee School, a special school in the City of Wesminster, has been supported by their Healthy Schools Coordinator to plan and develop a garden area accessible to pupils of all abilities. A whole school approach has included staff training and integrating growing across the curriculum. The school is now working towards gaining their Silver Healthy Schools Award.
Recipe for Success – Councils
1. Councils can support schools by promoting the benefits of growing and helping create an environment that makes it easier to get started. Find out where to start and download the free FGSL toolkit to help.
2. The benefits can be felt across the community – from health and education to the local economy, find out more about how encouraging food growing can benefit your borough.
Recipe for Success – Schools
1. Contact your Healthy Schools Coordinator to ask for help with your school food growing activities
2. Build support for food growing with teachers and the management team – share FGSL research on the benefits of food growing
3. Get growing this term with the Free FGSL Grow Your Own Picnic resources and involve the local community in your school garden and celebrations
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.
*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’
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.
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.
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 email@example.com
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.
X 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.
Croydon 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.
A 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 www.edibleplaygrounds.org or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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 schoolmarketplace 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.
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
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.”