New Honey Bee Programme gets London schools buzzing

School Food Matters are excited to be launching a brand new programme with Whole Kids Foundation all about bees.

Based on the successful grant programme in the US, The Honey Bee programme is designed to raise awareness of the vital importance of honey bees in food production and to introduce teachers to the wonders of keeping bees at school.

School Food Matters will be offering three avenues of exploration for schools that are considering introducing honey bees as a fascinating and uniquely different learning resource:

  • Visit from a bee-keeper with observation hives.

In June, six schools will have the opportunity to host a visit from an experienced bee-keeper from London Beekeepers Association. These sessions will be for up to 30 children and will include topics such as: honey bees and other bees, anatomy, the nest and life cycle; bees, the importance of bees in food production; products from the hive; honey, wax and propolis.

  • Taster session for teachers.

Inspired by the visit from a beekeeper, teachers will attend a taster session in September to be delivered by London Beekeepers Association to carefully consider the big step of introducing bees into a school environment. Teachers will be signposted to the bee-keeping training required to keep a colony at school and will understand how the school site needs to be prepared to accommodate a colony. The session will include information about planting for forage, colony management throughout the year (including school holidays) and the budget required for both set-up and operating costs.

  • Apply for a honey bee grant.

Schools that fulfil the criteria below can apply for funding for equipment to set up a project at school. Grants of up to £1,500 will be available from a funding pot of £9,000. Schools will only be able to apply if they have:

  • commissioned a risk assessment/feasibility study
  • completed a bee-keeping course with a local bee-keeping association (BBKA Bee Basic or equivalent) with a minimum of two members of staff
  • formed a ‘bee team’ of at least three members of staff
  • identified a ‘bee mentor’ from a local bee-keeping association to support the project throughout its first year.

Schools with established honey bee projects, who wish to develop their projects further, may also apply if they fulfil the requirements above.

HOW TO GET INVOLVED

School Food Matters are piloting the Honey Bee Programme in 2018 and have funding for the following:

  • Visits by London Beekeepers Association to six schools in London
  • Places for 12 teachers from six schools on our taster session at a London apiary
  • Six grants of up to £1,500 for equipment.

To apply, simply download and complete all the sections on this Expression of Interest form and return by Friday 11 May 2018 to gaby@schoolfoodmatters.org

Visit the School Food Matters Website for more details.

School Garden Grants from School Food Matters & Whole Kids Foundation

School Food Matters have partnered with Whole Kids Foundation to provide School Garden Grants for schools in the four London boroughs of Barking and Dagenham, Hammersmith and Fulham, Newham and Waltham Forest. Whole Kids Foundation is offering a total of £40,000 in grants of up to £2,000 per school to create new edible gardens or to enhance existing ones within the schools grounds.

The School Garden Grants are open to:

  • all schools in the London boroughs of Barking and Dagenham, Hammersmith and Fulham, Newham and Waltham Forest
  • applications for grants up to £2000

Schools can apply for funding for a whole range of food growing projects from building raised beds or adding greenhouses, to completely revitalising neglected allotment spaces or creating sensory gardens for special needs students. Schools can also apply for a grant to provide food growing training for staff and students.

Applications must be submitted by 5pm on Friday 20 April 2018. The grant programme will close on that date or when they have received 80 applications – whichever is sooner.

To apply, download and complete the application form from http://schoolfoodmatters.org/projects/school-garden-grants

Matchfunds for Trees for Cities Edible Playgrounds

Trees for Cities and Bulb, the UK renewable energy supplier, are looking for London schools interested in transforming their playgrounds into food growing spaces and building their capacity to teach through gardening.

The Edible Playgrounds project includes designing and building a bespoke, vibrant and functional teaching garden alongside teacher training, curriculum mapping and other support to build teacher’s confidence and skills to teach outside.

See more about the programme here www.edibleplaygrounds.org

Matchfunding

Through the Bulb partnership Trees for Cities is excited to offer generous matchfunds towards all projects.

Get in touch with Trees for Cities to find out more.

Please contact carys@treesforcities.org or complete an expression of interest form www.edibleplaygrounds.org/early-expression-of-interest

 

Local School Nature Grants Scheme

Learning through Landscapes Nature GrantsFood Growing Schools: London’s lead partner Garden Organic are delighted to be a supplier in the Local School Nature Grants Scheme, helping schools branch out into nature

What do birdboxes, bee hotels, den making kits and nature experts all have in common? They are all available free to schools as part of Learning through Landscapes’ Local School Nature Grants Programme, supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery: http://www.ltl.org.uk/naturegrants/

Learning through Landscapes is a UK charity dedicated to enhancing outdoor learning and play for children. The grants provide an assortment of nature equipment and training up to the value of £500. The packages are customisable, enabling schools to choose from a menu of items which best suit their learners and their setting. All schools in England, Scotland and Wales are welcome to apply.

For example the Garden Organic Get Growing Kit includes:

A great pack of resources to actually get you growing:
1 x Starter pack of seeds
(18 packets of organic fruit and vegetable seeds plus edible flowers. (Exact seeds provided will depend on the season))
1 x term time growing planner
1 x pack of 25 vegetable growing cards
1 x composting booklet
1 x soil information pack
(Total 23 items)

The other suppliers are Glasgow Wood Recycling, Outdoor People, RSPB, MindStretchers and Touchwood.

The aim is to make it easy to get young people in touch with nature, and so the application process is quick and straight forward. The programme launches in late January 2017 and will be open to applications for a full year.

The project is funded by Postcode Local Trust, which receives funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

This scheme does not provide cash grants for schools.

To find out more visit: Local School Nature Grants Programme.

To find out about more competitions, offers and funds on the Food Growing Schools: London website visit: Competitions

 

Fantastic news for Food Growing Schools: London!

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 2016, at a Food Growing Schools: London Schools Marketplace. Trafalgar Infants School, Richmond. Jane Baker/Garden Organic

New funding secured to continue

We are delighted to announce plans to build on the fantastic achievements of Food Growing Schools: London by continuing to promote food growing in London schools.

For the past three years, Garden Organic has been leading the Food Growing Schools: London partnership (funded by the Big Lottery Fund), working with the Mayor of London, Capital Growth, the Soil Association’s Food For Life project, the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), School Food Matters and Trees for Cities.

Due to end in March this year, Food Growing Schools: London has achieved remarkable results helping to promote and support food growing, healthy eating and sustainability in schools across London. Now, thanks to financial support from a major donor, Garden Organic is thrilled to be able to build on the successes and learning of this project for a further 12 months.

Chris Collins, Head of Organic Horticulture at Garden Organic and former Blue Peter Gardener, is thrilled that this project will continue: “It’s such an uplifting piece of news – Garden Organic has made great strides in the past three years, highlighting and supporting the fundamental importance of organic food growing in schools.” He commented. “Understanding the process from seed to plate is a life skill, and the hard work of those involved in the Food Growing Schools: London project has made great leaps in educating the next generation. However the work is far from done; we have set off on the road and it is superb news that continued funding enables us to carry on this positive work.”

Garden Organic’s Head of Education, Colette Bond has been involved in the project since its inception. “Garden Organic has, for decades, been involved in encouraging children to grow food. We know that something as simple as growing fruit and veg organically can have a life-changing impact on children.” She commented. “A large number of London pupils have never been exposed to food growing. We’re delighted with the impact the Food Growing Schools: London project has had so far, and to now have the opportunity to continue this work.”

This support will allow Garden Organic to evolve the project over a 12 month period; to enhance the most successful elements so that even more schools embrace food growing and enjoy the life-changing benefits it has been proven to bring.

The Food Growing Schools: London website has information and downloadable resources for schools interested in accessing the support offered. Alternatively, to discuss the project further, or to talk through specific requirements, please contact education@gardenorganic.org.uk.

About the project

Food Growing Schools: London, launched in 2013, was established to increase the number of London schools growing food. Through a combination of hands on support, teacher training, termly growing activities and regular events, the project has delivered impressive achievements. An independent review of Food Growing Schools: London reported that 87% of London schools surveyed are now involved in growing, with 1 in 4 linking food growing directly to the curriculum. This take up of food growing activities has led to a significant increase in pupils being more aware of healthy eating and sustainability – enabling them to start making healthy life choices from an early age.

The independent external evaluation of the project, completed in 2016 by the University of the West of England, is available to download here.