Three London schools launch new Edible Playgrounds

Food Growing Schools: London partner Trees for Cities have recently celebrated Edible Playground launch events at three London primary schools.

Olga Primary in Tower Hamlets, St Anne’s in Lambeth and Gallions in Newham all opened their gardens to guests as they cut the ribbon on their new outdoor growing space.

A number of dignitaries attended, including local ward councillors, members of the senior leadership teams of neighbouring schools, members of Healthy Schools London and even Mayor Christopher Wellbelove from Lambeth Council.

Mayor Christopher Wellbelove at St Anne’s with Trees for Cities staff.

There were speeches, guided tours of the garden space and performances from the children. A particular highlight was a hearing a Year 3 child from Olga Primary describe a salad dish made from tomatoes and basil from the Edible Playground: “Have you ever thought of growing your own juicy, ripe tomatoes? It is a feeling like no other, it is seriously the best feeling ever”.

Olga pupils in their cooking outfits showing their crops.

Each of the schools serves a higher than average percentage of pupils whose first language is not English and each has a higher percentage of pupils who are eligible for free school meals, indicating a higher level of deprivation that the national average.

It is urban schools like this, with little access to nature, that make ideal partners for the Edible Playgrounds programme. The Edible Playgrounds give the children a chance to learn about growing and eating healthy fruit and veg, and to connect with nature in a way that would be very difficult for them otherwise.

Growing themed bunting made by the pupils.

And the impacts on the lives of the children at these schools is tangible. Linda Ewers, Head Teacher at Olga Primary, said: “A bare playground has been transformed,” and “Our children are involved in the whole cycle of growing food – they are interested in what is growing and in the other life that can be found in the garden”.

Gallions’ Edible Playground thriving despite the summer heatwave.

If you are interested in learning more about the Edible Playground programme, and the generous match fund opportunities currently available, head to the Trees for Cities website or get in touch at info@edibleplaygrounds.org.

How to plan a food growing area and link it to the curriculum

Food Growing Schools: London partner School Food Matters is hosting two Gardening Training mornings for school staff in Ealing and Lambeth.

The training will cover planning your food growing area as well as ideas on how to link it to the curriculum. The training will be run by our gardening expert Nick Ives from Food Growing Schools: London.

Who should attend?

Any adult from your school interested in gardening – a teacher, support staff, parent, volunteer – the choice is yours!

Each school can bring up to 1 adult. The session is free to attend and will be a great chance to get some great tips and advice, as well as meet people from other schools.

Gardening Training mornings – ‘How to plan a food growing area and link it to the curriculum’
Where: Reay Primary School, Hackford Road, London, SW9 0EN
Date: Tuesday 27th February 2018
Time: 9.30am to 12.30pm

Where: Lady Margaret Primary School, Lady Margaret Rd, Southall, UB1 2NH
Date: Tuesday 6th March 2018
Time: 9.30am to 12.30pm

For more info and to register in advance please contact School Food Matters.

Council support for food growing

Harvesting radishes
Harvesting the radishes together

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!

Check out these short films for Croydon and Lambeth to find out more.

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.

The Tri-borough (Westminster, Hammersmith and Fulham and Kensington and Chelsea) is a great example of boroughs coming together to support school food growing projects through the Healthy Schools London programme.

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

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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Mayor helps tackle child obesity with £42,000 for schools to grow food

19 February 2016

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.”

For more information on School Garden Grants please visit https://www.london.gov.uk/what-we-do/business-and-economy/food/food-flagships/flagship-school-garden-grants


 

Food Flagship Boroughs – project background info

This page is an archive. For latest information about the Food Flagship boroughs visit the Mayor of London website.

The London boroughs of Lambeth and Croydon have each won c£600k to pioneer school-based & community projects to improve health and attainment, beating 20 other boroughs who applied. Announced by the Mayor of London, Lighter London, the ambitious projects will started in September 2014 and end in January 2016.

The boroughs aimed to implement or expand a range of projects, including food growing, based in schools and designed to engage whole communities, including:

  • Croydon – grants for community cooking and healthy eating projects; food growing on estates; food business start-up funds; cookery classes in the community; initiatives to reduce sugar intake by pupils.
  • Lambeth – free school breakfasts; food growing projects linked to cooking lessons for children and parents; develop community food hubs in schools; launch fruit and veg voucher schemes in every borough children’s centre; redistribute food set to go to waste to families in food poverty.

Food Growing Schools: London have been working with these boroughs to help them develop their school food growing programmes, working with the community.

Read the Guardian and Evening Standard articles.


Updates

The Food Flagships boroughs have made great progress. Read some project updates below. For ongoing news visit: Food Flagships


April 2016 Updates

Updates from two of the Croydon’s schools, supported by FGSL Engagement Officer Paul Sadler: Shirley High School and Aerodrome Primary Academy, awarded Primary School of the Year for the 2015 Shine a Light Awards

Shirley High School: Using Food Growing as a Diverse Resource in a High School

 

Shirley High school have started off small and are now progressing to taking over the grounds to an old caretaker’s house to be used by both the school and the local community in food growing, thanks to the enthusiasm and skills from a wide diversity of staff including an Assistant Head, Head of Food Tech and their Catering Manager.

ACTIONS: Each member of staff has taken on different responsibilities to communicate the project more widely within the school community, talk to local businesses and organisations, work with pupils, staff and governors and help design what they would ultimately like to create.
APPROACH: A cross-curricular approach is being taken to include all ages of pupils, abilities and subjects and for produce to be available in Food Tech lessons, the kitchens and for the local community.

FGSL CONTRIBUTION: we helped to facilitate this process so far whilst providing:

  • further advice and ideas regarding the setting up of the garden spaces
  • working with the pupils and involving other people from the school community in the project.

 

Aerodrome Primary Academy: Getting Your Parents Behind Your Food Growing Project

 

Aerodrome Primary Academy provides a diverse variety of spaces that encourage their pupils to explore the outdoor environment through adventure, play, discovering wildlife and an upcoming food growing garden.

ACTIONS: Recognizing the commitment which is required to look after and sustain a food growing project in a school, the school invited their parents to become involved. This resulted in a meeting involving teachers, governors, 12 parents and grandparents.
RESULTS: A tour of the outdoors gave an opportunity to look at all possible locations for a food growing garden thinking about accessibility, light, water and the condition of the existing soil. The group’s brainstorming included question about how they were going to get more stakeholders involved, what kind of features they thought would be needed and where they could get resources to help create the food growing garden. The project was important to create another outdoor learning facility which would broaden the educational opportunities for both staff, children and parents and at the same time offer a community resource and facilitate cross cultural learning.
FOLLOW – UP: From the lists generated by the brainstorm various people volunteered to contact local organization and businesses, communicating about the project to other parents and governors. A small sub-group specifically on gardening design was formed in ordeer to meet up further.
FGSL CONTRIBUTION:  Food Growing Schools: London facilitated the meeting which it was an opportunity to find out more about why the schools wanted to develop this project, how parents and staff could become involved and sharing  ideas they may have.

Enter the Lambeth Get Schools Growing competition for schools

Lambeth Get Schools Growing (LGSG) is a borough wide school food growing competition, hosted by the Lambeth Food Flagship team.

The Lambeth Food Flagship Programme vision is to help Lambeth residents to develop a love of healthy and sustainable food. Everyone will have the knowledge, passion and skills to grow, buy, cook and enjoy food with their family, friends and community. We will build on our famous markets, schools, community gardens and small food businesses to make Lambeth the go-to destination in London for diverse, healthy and exciting food.

We invite schools to start growing as much and as varied produce as they can within their school grounds, to be showcased and judged at the Lambeth Country Show this summer.

There are three prizes to be won (schools can win one only):

  • Biggest variety of fruit and vegetables (£1000)
  • Ugliest fruit or vegetable (£500)
  • Best healthy homemade dish from the produce grown (£500)

All you need to do is get growing, and record your progress (e.g. pictures, quotes, videos, storyboards) so we can see what fantastic things you are getting up to.

We are also offering free training, support and resources around healthy eating and food growing. This support can range from ten minutes to a whole day – it’s up to you!

All schools within the London Borough of Lambeth are invited to join. Good luck!

Join in


January 2016 Updates

The Mayor of London and Whole Kids Foundation have partnered to support edible garden projects in schools in the two Food Flagship boroughs.  The application round closed on 4th December and a huge number of applications (74) were received.  A total of 21 edible garden projects will be funded across the two boroughs, of which 12 are new and nine are existing. The partners  are currently working with the schools on funding agreements and almost all projects will be finished by July 2016.


Croydon’s Community Gardening Project: Croydon’s Community Gardening project, run by Garden Organic, is well underway. 16 participants have so far been trained as Master Gardeners, and Food Buddies will be recruited throughout January to provide further support. Aim is to increase access to food growing in the borough as well as implement food growing on prescription with the CCG and GP networks.


November 2015 updates
The School Garden Grants programme

The School Garden Grants programme  – a partnership between the Mayor of London and Whole Kids Foundation – was launched in October and is offering edible garden grants to schools in the flagship boroughs.  On 11th November 2015, the first Edible walking route in London was launched in Clapham Common. This is an exciting partnership between Incredible Edible Lambeth, Food Growing Schools London (Garden Organic) and Incredible Edible Todmorden and the aim of the route is to bring  together those who are passionate about local food in and around Clapham Common including schools, Lambeth College, the Business Improvement District, and others. We are hoping to see this community-led initiative replicated in other areas.


 

Enterprise Food Garden Award winners

Nightingale Primary, Hackney - case study

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