Food Growing Schools: City strategies for food system sustainability

Can every city be a food growing city?

How can lessons learned from Food Growing Schools: London’s project successes be applied to supporting the development of more sustainable food systems?

Food Growing Schools: London project elevators from the University of the West of England and University of Cardiff have assessed our work since the project was launched and have used their findings to examine how cities can support innovative strategies to respond to new challenges in food systems.

This article in the journal Sustainability discusses and explores some key points in the winder context, as the abstract outlines:

“Cities have emerged as leaders in food system innovation and transformation, but their potential can be limited by the absence of supportive governance arrangements.

This study examined the value of Food Growing Schools London (FGSL) as a programme seeking city-wide change through focusing on one dimension of the food system. Mixed methods case study research sought to identify high-level success factors and challenges.

Findings demonstrate FGSL’s success in promoting food growing by connecting and amplifying formerly isolated activities. Schools valued the programme’s expertise and networking opportunities, whilst strategic engagement facilitated new partnerships linking food growing to other policy priorities.

Challenges included food growing’s marginality amongst priorities that direct school and borough activity. Progress depended on support from
individual local actors so varied across the city. London-wide progress was limited by the absence of policy levers at the city level.

Experience from FGSL highlights how city food strategies remain
constrained by national policy contexts, but suggests they may gain traction through focusing on well-delineated, straightforward activities that hold public appeal.

Sustainability outcomes might then be extended through a staged approach using this as a platform from which to address other
food issues.”

Continue reading the full article here.

Author information

Hannah Pitt, Sustainable Places Institute, Cardiff University, Cardiff CF10 3BA,Wales, UK

Mat Jones, Bristol Centre for Public Health and Wellbeing, University of the West of England, Bristol BS16 1QY, UK; matthew.jones@uwe.ac.uk

Emma Weitkamp, Science Communication Unit, University of the West of England, Bristol BS16 1QY, UK; emma.weitkamp@uwe.ac.uk

School Food Matters video celebrates 10 years

In the past 10 years School Food Matters have worked with over 30,000 children from London and beyond through their food education programmes.

Their mission is to ensure that every child enjoys fresh sustainable food at school and understands where their food comes from.

Results

One pupil says, “I used to hate pears but now I actually quite like them because I’ve grown them”.

Another adds, “I’ve been cooking for the three years in school and now I love cooking with my mum at home.”

This video celebrates some great moments and reveals some of the positive impacts of connecting children with food through school. Watch below or on Youtube here.

Get involved

Would your school benefit from getting involved with School Food Matters’ initiatives? Find out more here.

 

Primary school’s Edible Playground a hit with pupils

Manorfield Primary School, in Tower Hamlets, celebrated the launch of their Edible Playground this summer, receiving a Food for Life Award for their innovative approach to integrating healthy food education into the school curriculum.

Watch this BBC Education video to hear what the pupils had to say about the impact their Edible Playground has made in their lives!

www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/education-40572626/primary-school-s-edible-playground-a-hit-with-pupils

Thanks to the players of People’s Postcode Lottery, Ernest Cook Trust and City Bridge Trust, Trees for Cities – and their programme partners, Chefs Adopt a School and School Food Matters – have worked with Manorfield to create a eye-catching orange honeycomb trellised fruit and vegetable garden, abundant with seasonal school-grown herbs, salads and vegetables; in addition to a multifunction outdoor classroom area and impressive nature garden, rich in diverse urban wildlife.

The new interactive outdoor space has transformed the way pupils learn about food origins and has provided an opportunity to explore healthy eating through seasonal planting and harvesting lessons throughout the year.

For more information contact the Edible Playgrounds team on 020 7840 5956 or by emailing info@edibleplaygrounds.org

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 www.edibleplaygrounds.org or email us on info@treesforcities.org.

 

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