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 6th April 2018. The grant programme will close on that date or when we have received 80 applications – whichever is sooner.

To apply, download and complete the application form from

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.

Young Marketeers Winter Sale 6 February at Borough Market

On 6 February 2018 students from four schools in Southwark will be setting up shop amongst the iconic arches of Borough Market for the Young Marketeers Winter Sale.

The young entrepreneurs will be selling deliciously warming bowls of home-made soup made using surplus veg and freshly bread baked. All money raised will go to food waste charity, FareShare.

To prepare for sale day, students visited the FareShare depot in London where they witnessed the absurdity of food waste and heard about the charities that help to redistribute good food to those who need it most.

In January they will head to Borough Market for a soup masterclass with food teacher Michaela Bowles and bake bread with Bread Ahead.

Make sure to stop in on 6 Feb to support these Young Marketeers!

Find out more about School Food Matters and the Young Marketeers.

Young Marketeers fight food waste with FareShare

This week the School Food Matters Young Marketeers winter sale schools had an eye-opening visit to the FareShare depot in London.

Getting stuck in

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.

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.


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.


London schools get enterprising with School Food Matters

School Food Matters Market Day in Stoke Newington, with with Hoxton Garden Primary.
School Food Matters Market Day in Stoke Newington, with Hoxton Garden Primary.

School Food Matters are one of six fantastic Food Growing Schools: London partners founded in 2007 by parent Stephanie Wood. Over the past 10 years they have made their name as experts in school food enterprise projects, working with thousands of pupils in schools across London.

Enterprising school food projects

In March and April 2017, Know your Onions, School Food Matters’ new secondary school project progresses with 15 gardening sessions delivered by our partners, Garden Organic. These sessions will inspire students to get involved in food growing, think about where their food comes from and learn useful skills.  In April, these schools visit a local market garden where they can see professional food growing at scale, within the boundaries of London. These visits help the students to contextualise their food growing in the wider environment and think about the effects of global food production on the environment. Know your Onions is kindly supported for 3 years by the City of London Corporation’s charity, City Bridge Trust. Read more about the progress of the programme, including students learning to cook their produce, and sell it at their local street market: Know Your Onions.

The Schools to Market programme, led by School Food Matters in partnership with Whole Kids Foundation, is now entering its fifth year and kicks off in March 2017 with an assembly at 20 participating schools. This year five Whole Foods Market stores are taking part: Richmond, Fulham Broadway, High Street Kensington, Cheltenham and Giffnock. The assembly not only launches the programme but also looks at the purpose of it; to take children on a journey from seed to supermarket, to teach them about fresh, healthy food and to improve their nutrition and wellbeing. This way the whole school can benefit from the assembly and not just those children chosen to participate in Schools to Market. Keep up to date with what’s happening when at: Schools to Market.

Other enterprising School Food Matters projects include: Young Marketeers at Borough Market and Fresh Enterprise: School Food Matters Enterprise Projects

For ideas on how to start an enterprise food project in your school visit the Food Growing Schools: London website: Grow Your Own Business

Know Your Onions

Know Your Onions. Photo: School Food Matters
Know Your Onions. Photo: School Food Matters

Linking in beautifully with FGSL’s Autumn Term Grow Your Own Business activities, November sees the launch of a brand new enterprise project for secondary school students, Know Your Onions.

Led by our fantastic FGSL partner, School Food Matters, the programme will support schools develop food growing spaces and, with the help of a professional chef, give them top tips on how to cook what they harvest.

Students will also get the chance to see food growing at scale with a visit to a Market Garden in London in April to develop ideas on how to make their school gardens more productive and planet friendly.

At the end of the school year, students will harvest and sell their produce at their local street markets to raise money for more food education activities. School Food Matters will be working with three schools in each of the Boroughs of Camden, Croydon, Sutton, Waltham Forest and Enfield, and a total of 15 schools.

To find out more visit: Know Your Onions

Sow it. Grow it. Sell it!

Young Marketeers Winter Sale – February 2017
School Food Matters have many years of experience running school food enterprise projects. Among them are their fantastic Young Marketeers (with Borough Market) and Schools to Market (with Wholefoods stores) projects. Next up, their Young Marketeers Winter Sale at Borough Market in February 2017, fr a second year running. Four schools in Southwark will be creating soup from surplus veg and bake bread with the team at Bread Ahead to sell to the public alongside market traders with all money made going to Fareshare.

Inspired to start your own school food enterprise project?….

Grow Your Own Business 2016 – this Autumn Term with FGSL
From strawberry jam to tomato ketchup, and the great British apple to winter salad bags. With our expert guidance, learn the secrets to starting your own school food growing business, raising money for your school, developing employment skills and selling healthy, home-grown food in your local community. Join in with Grow Your Own Business by downloading our free schools activity pack.





Inspiring story: Chris Collins – a successful gardening career

Chris Collins, New Head of Horticulture at Garden Organic, lead Food Growing Schools: London partner.
Chris Collins, new Head of Horticulture at Garden Organic, lead Food Growing Schools: London partner.

Congratulations to former Blue Peter gardener Chris Collins, and keen supporter of Food Growing Schools: London (FGSL), who has become the new Head of Organic Horticulture for Garden Organic, FGSL’s lead partner.  Garden Organic asked Chris to tell us how he became a successful gardener.

A CV most gardeners can only dream of
Chris has a CV most gardeners can only dream of, taking in two Royal Botanic Gardens and the green space at ‘The Queen’s church’ Westminster Abbey. With a long TV history, Chris has popped up on everything from Blue Peter – where he ran the iconic London garden for nine years and then created a new one at the BBC’s MediaCityUK studio in Salford – to Gardeners’ World, This Morning, Children in Need, Garden Invaders and Turf Wars.

A familiar face to many schools gardeners
Chris is a familiar face to many schools, supporting a wide range of school food growing projects in London and across the UK – and taking selfies wherever he goes! Chris has supported many FGSL projects including our FGSL Schools Marketplace at City Hall, Growathon and numerous schools competitions, the School Food Matters Young Marketeers project at Borough Market and Edible Playground projects as a patron with Trees for Cities – to name but a few. FGSL look forward to working with Chris even more closely to achieve our dream to get every school in London growing food.

Inspiration for young gardeners
Chris trained at the Royal Botanical Garden in Edinburgh before working on diverse projects all over the globe, including Africa’s oldest botanical gardens in Cameroon and a stint in Japan teaching British gardening techniques. Chris returned to the UK in 1998 and his career blossomed further at Kew and Westminster Abbey. He is also an RHS Chelsea Flower Show medal-winner!

Garden Organic asked Chris some questions about his career and this is what he said:

How did your career begin? “I come from quite a rough background and when I left school I got an apprenticeship on the Brighton Parks. I planted an elm tree in my first week and I knew straightaway that this was what I wanted to do with my career. That tree’s now 45 feet tall. Gardening has given me a fantastic life and I owe it so much. I don’t know whether it’s fair to say gardening saved my life, as you never know what path you might have taken, but it certainly lit things up for me, and still does.”

What was it like running the nation’s most watched garden? “There were so many hilarious moments looking after the Blue Peter garden. I’ve worked with Scooby Doo and Buddhist monks. I’ve been eaten by a giant plant. For a feature on composting, we made little Daleks with Doctor Who Christopher Eccleston. There was always something fun going on and I had the chance to direct what we were doing. The greatest thing was that it was really successful at reaching children. My endgame? Is always to spread the message about horticulture.”

What’s the best way to inspire the next generation to grow their own? “I’m a big fan of gardening being taught in schools. The key thing is to have someone come in once a week to drive the project and share their enthusiasm. Get some raised beds, sow some fruit and veg, nurture them week by week, let them see the growing cycle. This is how you teach kids properly about growing.”

Top tips for anyone getting started? “My advice is to start small, at home, even if you only have a balcony or a few pots on a patio. Make it a family project to see what you can grow, whether it’s crops or flowers or a combination. Going out and about to I’m a big fan of gardening being taught in schools. The key thing is to have someone come in once a week to drive the project and share their enthusiasm. Get some raised beds, sow some fruit and veg, nurture them visit places for inspiration makes it more fun.”

Congratulations to Chris on his new role as Head Gardener with Garden Organic. FGSL look forward to working with him even more closely to achieve our dream to get every school in London growing food!

Read more about Chris Collins on the Garden Organic website.

Find out more about careers in horticulture – and support young people to grow their futures.











Haringey school gets a boost to support Healthy Eating

Stamford Hill Primary School, Haringey. (From left to right)  Bledina y6, David y6, Malikay6, Harvin y6, Renzo y6, Alise y6 and Haoyi y5 Photo: Trees for Cities
Stamford Hill Primary School, Haringey. (From left to right) Bledina, David, Malika, Harvin, Renzo, Alise and Haoyi, year 5 and 6. Photo: Trees for Cities

Stamford Hill Primary School, which is located in Tottenham, North London, will be transforming areas of their playground into an Edible Playground, thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

Trees for Cities will transform areas of the school playground into an edible playground, which will be designed specifically for the school, including raised beds for growing salads, root vegetables, soft fruits and herbs, fruit trees and a composting area.   Pupils will enjoy planting and harvesting workshops throughout the year, and teachers will receive support to teach outdoors through gardening.

The school has recently been awarded the Gold Healthy Schools status and as part of their ongoing work on Healthy Eating is about to embark on this new teaching and learning journey over the next few years.

Kathy O Sullivan, Head Teacher at Stamford Hill Primary said: “As part of our ongoing work on Healthy Eating, we have installed a cooking kitchen and employed our own cook.  A cooking room is also being installed so we can develop the cooking curriculum across the school.  We are keen to extend our work on healthy schools and growing our own food felt like the next logical step”.

The programme is a partnership between Trees for Cities, School Food Matters and Chefs Adopt a School to create 10 flagship Edible Playgrounds in London, Manchester, Leeds, Reading and Liverpool.  As part of the project, the pupils will also enjoy hands-on cooking lessons from Chefs Adopt a School and access to food education programmes outside the school gate via charity School Food Matter’s Membership for Schools.

David Elliott, Chief Executive at Trees for Cities said: “We are delighted to announce our seventh Dream Fund Edible Playground at Stamford Hill Primary School in Haringey, thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery.  Our Edible Playground programme addresses 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 encourage physical activity“

Tesco bags of help have shortlisted this school for 8-12k of additional funding  and this project will also go forward to a public vote in Tesco stores with their customers deciding the outcome. The public will be able to vote for their favourite project in their local Tesco stores from 26th September 2016 to 9th October 2016.

Trees for Cities has been working in schools to plant fruit and nut trees since 2000. With this track record and experience, TfC’ technical expertise in the delivery of Edible Playgrounds and operations is well established and highly regarded. The first Edible Playground was created in 2003. There are currently over 30 Edible Playgrounds in the UK with a further 40 to be rolled out over the next three years.

If you or your business want to help raise the remainder of the funds needed for this project please visit where you can make a donation or get in touch with the team on 020 7820 4413.


For more information please contact: Samantha Lagan – 020 7820 4426/07825541130
Images available upon request

Notes to Editors

Trees for Cities is an independent charity making our cities greener both in the UK and internationally.  They also plant ‘Edible Playgrounds‘ in primary schools in deprived urban areas of the UK to help children learn about growing and eating healthy food.  All of this is done with the help of thousands of volunteers.

The trees they plant transform spaces where people live, work and play, particularly in areas where the social and environmental impact on local people is greatest: in London this might mean planting trees to clean the air, focusing on areas affected by NO2 Pollution, whilst internationally they plant fruiting trees for food and sustainable livelihoods.
Since 1993, Trees for Cities has engaged over 70,000 people to plant over 600,000 urban trees in parks, streets, schools and housing estates worldwide, revitalising these areas and improving the lives of the people that live in them.

Edible Playgrounds is a programme led by Trees for Cities who have been working in schools to plant fruit and nut trees for over 10 years.  “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.  An Edible Playground typically includes raised beds, a greenhouse, wormery, fruit trees and an irrigation system.

School Food Matters is a registered charity based in London that campaigns for fresh sustainable food in schools and for children to understand where their food comes from.  To achieve this SFM listens to schools, parents and children. Together they urge local authorities to improve school meals and to support food education through cooking, growing and links with local farms.

Chefs Adopt a School founded in 1990 by the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts, Adopt a School, which includes Chefs Adopt a School and Hospitality in Schools, is a national charity which teaches children – in a holistic way – about food, cookery food provenance, food growing, healthy eating, nutrition, hygiene, table etiquette and the importance of eating together.  Professional Chefs deliver sessions in the classroom which range in content from the four tastes and the five senses, to advanced practical cookery. The charity reaches over 20,000 children every year and we work with primary schools, secondary schools, SEN schools, hospital schools, pupil referral units, sports centres and food festivals.  We believe that every child should be taught about the importance of food and the significance it has in our lives.

People’s Postcode Lottery
• People’s Postcode Lottery is a charity lottery. Players play with their postcodes to win cash prizes, while raising money for charities and good causes across Great Britain and globally
• A minimum of 30% goes directly to charities and players have raised £135.8 Million for good causes across the country
• £10 for 10 draws paid monthly in advance with prizes every day. For further prize information visit:
• Maximum amount a single ticket can win is 10% of the draw revenue to a maximum of £400,000
• Players can sign up by Direct Debit, credit card or PayPal online at, or by calling 0808 10-9-8-7-6-5
• Postcode Lottery Limited is regulated by the Gambling Commission under certificate nr 000-000829-N-102511-011 and 000-000829-R-102513-010. Registered office: Titchfield House, 69/85 Tabernacle Street, London, EC2A 4RR
• People’s Postcode Lottery manages multiple society lotteries promoted by different charities. For details on which society lottery is running each week, visit
• This prize was part of the draw promoted by Royal Voluntary Service or WWF

New shoots: over 50,000 students happily growing food across London

We are delighted to announce that the target for our Growathon Challenge has been met!

Trafalgar Infant_1_Marketplace 2016_City Hall
Photo: Maria C. Bada/Garden Organic

Launched in October 2015, the Growathon was the biggest school food growing challenge of the year, with a target of getting 50,000 pupils involved by the end of the school summer term. The target has been exceeded with 54,168 school children reportedly involved in food growing activities, such as eco gardening clubs, seed saving projects and markets to sell their homegrown produce and products, such as jams and chutneys.

Schools have been able to log their activities on the Growathon website, where a Carrot Totaliser showed the numbers grow over the last 10 months.

Colette Bond, Head of Education at Garden Organic, said:

The Food Growing Schools: London partnership has been encouraging schools to grow food since 2013 and we’re delighted to report that over 50,000 pupils are already enjoying the benefits. From improved health and wellbeing and developing an understanding of where our food comes from to developing skills and confidence, the Growathon campaign highlights all the great things that come from food growing in schools. Congratulations to all the London children that took part!”

Borough Market_Young Marketeers
Photo: School Food Matters

The FGSL partnership brings together the very best of London’s food growing expertise, information and support to inspire and equip every school in London to grow their own food.

The partnership is led by Garden Organic and includes Capital Growth, the Soil Association’s Food For Life Partnership, the Royal Horticultural Society, School Food Matters and Trees for Cities. The project is funded by the Big Lottery Fund and has also been supported by the Mayor of London.

Former TV Blue Peter gardener, Chris Collins, said:

It’s brilliant to see the number of kids involved in food growing climbing the way it is. I’m a big supporter of the Growathon campaign and I’m thrilled to see that the target has been smashed by the end of the school year!”

FGSL are planning an event to celebrate the success of the Growathon and the project in its final year at City Hall in October 2016. This will coincide with their second annual Schools Marketplace event, the first of which was attended by the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and took place in July.

London schools can access free support, tips and materials by completing the Food Growing Schools: London survey. Every school that completes the survey will be entered into a draw to win some fantastic prizes, including a meal for two worth £50 at Wahaca.