Competition: Trees for Cities are calling all schools to make a short film about food growing in your playground/open space. Win amazing prizes for your school:
£200 gardening voucher for the 1st prize;
£100 gardening voucher for 2nd;
£50 gardening voucher for 3rd.
They’ll also send out spring seed packs to all entrants, so there’s plenty of incentive for schools to get on board!
Along with energy company Bulb, Trees for Cities are launching a Grow On, Film It competition for schools to show us the effects food growing has on the pupils and staff.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re growing a few herbs in a small window box or a feast’s worth of different fruits and vegetables in multiple raised beds, we want to see how you do it.
Be as imaginative and creative as you can! Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Say a poem about the garden
Tell the story from seed to plate
Show us how school life has changed since growing at school
Show us how the growing can be incorporated into the curriculum
Let us know about your gardening skills and why your plants grow so well
Share how the gardening encourages a deeper connection to nature
You might decide to add songs, graphics, comedy – it’s totally up to you, though ensure you keep the films under 3 minutes long. Points will be awarded for imagination, so get those thinking caps on. We can’t wait to see what you produce!
The deadline for submissions is Monday 1 October 2018, so please ensure you have your submissions in before then.
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.
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”.
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.
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”.
The Project Learning Garden team have been busy recruiting and training schools in Merton, Bexley and Southwark while gearing up for the first growing season of the project in London.
Project Learning Garden provides starter kits to schools with everything they need to start or refresh a food growing garden and use it as an outdoor classroom. Project Learning Garden provides schools with hands-on training, curriculum linked resources, raised beds and gardening tools, a fully equipped mobile cooking cart and ongoing support and guidance.
Despite the snow in March, they held two training sessions to meet with teachers and other school staff to start to work on planning how to link a school garden to their curriculum. The sessions covered curriculum, organic gardening, basic cooking skills and working with groups outside. The team running the workshop were joined by former Blue Peter gardener Chris Collins and Master Gardeners in Southwark.
The schools will soon be receiving their ‘kits’ which include a selection of cooking and gardening items as well as raised beds and lots of activities and resources to deliver the curriculum.
Schools also have access to a range of lesson plans and activities which link to environmental themes and subjects across the curriculum.
Delegates at the training session were enthusiastic and went away feeling positive about the whole day and being involved in the project. One delegate said:
‘I really enjoyed the day and found it useful and very helpful’
‘It was good to be reminded how important the soil is in or garden – easy to forget!’
To find out more about PLG visit the Garden Organic websitehere.
Garden Organic, the UK’s national charity for organic growing & the Captain Planet Foundation (CPF) a charitable organisation based in Atlanta, USA, are working in partnership to bring their successful Project Learning Garden programme to the UK.
Seeds of Change®, who donate 1% of sales to research and promotion of biodiversity and sustainable organic practices, are generously funding this pilot project, making this new partnership possible.
” The spirit of the Big Dig is what community gardening is all about “
Join Capital Growth and gardens across the capital to kick off the growing season on this annual volunteer open day. Every spring, hundreds of volunteers pull on their wellies and head outside to help community gardens get ready to grow.
In 2016, in London over 40 gardens took part, welcoming over 750 volunteers to help shovel compost, build trellises, plant seedlings and enjoy a hard day’s work in the company of friends and neighbours.
The Big Dig started as an event run by Capital Growth in 2012 to engage volunteers in their local food-growing space. It was initially funded as a nationwide project, managed by Sustain, recruiting 7,500 new volunteers to take part in community gardening.
State primary schools which haven’t ordered tree packs previously, or for a long time, are eligible to apply.
This is a fantastic opportunity to get your children outside to learn about nature, improve the local environment at your school and create a much needed home for our urban wildlife. Packs as small as 30 saplings are available, so you don’t need much space to get involved!
Trees for Cities will provide all the necessary support to make you feel confident in planting and caring for your new saplings. They are the London delivery partner for the ‘Trees for Schools’ programme, funded by Defra and delivered in partnership with the Woodland Trust.
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.
Students from four Southwark schools had the chance to witness the 8,000 tonnes of ‘fit for purpose’ products rescued from waste from the food and drink industry. They also heard about the charities that help to redistribute good food to those who need it most.
Our Young Marketeers were then tasked with putting together an order to be delivered to a charity in Elephant & Castle. This charity transforms the food into nutritious meals for vulnerable families.
Baking a difference
The students will be selling freshly baked bread and soup made from surplus ingredients at the Winter Sale on February 6th at Borough Market with all funds going to FareShare.
Trees for Cities is an ambitious, far-reaching organisation.
Since its inception they have engaged over 65,000 people to plant 500,000 trees focusing on health, food security, and environmental protection and providing opportunities for education and learning through the Edible Playgrounds and Urban Forest programmes.
Edible Playgrounds transform areas in school grounds into vibrant outdoor spaces that excite and teach children about growing and eating healthy food. By instilling healthy eating habits at an early age, they help tackle obesity, food poverty and lack of access to nature head on, and provide a platform for fun and engaging lessons that support the school curriculum.
If you have a passion for food growing in schools and are looking for work in London, there are a couple great opportunities to join the Edible Playgrounds team. The roles of Landscape Coordinator and Project Development Officer are currently available- find out more here.
If you’d like to find out more about Edible Playgrounds, click here.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.