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.

Young Marketeers get expert growing advice at Borough Market

Students from 19 schools across London will be heading along to Borough Market on 1 May to receive specialist training as part of the annual School Food Matters Young Marketeers programme.

Horticulturalist, Chris Collins from Garden Organic will teach the primary school children the art of growing veg from seed and experts from Borough Market will share their tips and tricks on becoming successful market trades.

In May, schools will receive a visit from a horticulturalist to tackle any veg related problems and to ensure a bountiful crop to sell at Borough Market on July 4th.

Find out more about School Food Matters.

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

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.

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.

 

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.

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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.

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