From Seed to Market – Chris Collins and the Young Marketeers Harvest Sale

“There is nothing like the sound of children taking over a market place!” – Chris Collins.

The Young Marketeers Harvest & Apple Sale is coming up on 5 October at Borough Market. Chris Collins who works with School Food Matters to deliver the project and is best known as a former TV Blue Peter gardener, writes to tell us what this school food growing project is all about:

Young Marketeers is an exciting project that has been running for 6 years with support from various organisations including School Food Matters, United St Saviour’s Charity, FareShare and Garden Organic.

The project focus is on advising schools on food growing and providing workshops to teach primary school children to grow veg from seed with an emphasis on seed to plate, encouraging healthy eating by getting children to grow food. It has, in my opinion, been a resounding success.

Young Marketeers takes things a step beyond growing food and with the help of the famous Borough Market, we introduced an entrepreneurial element, where the food the children grow is taken to market and sold to customers.

There is nothing like the sound of children taking over a market place! They are incredible sales people and they do have the advantage of fresh produce to sell – fresh produce they have personally grown.

There are a real mix of children involved with the project because the schools included are primary, secondary and special needs.

The journey starts with workshops in early spring. That’s where I start getting involved. I undertake these workshops at Borough Market itself and can have 25 schools in two sittings – it’s a giant seed sowing party.

We do two lots of crops; one for a summer sale and one for the autumn sale. I teach them seed sowing in trays, pricking out, sowing in drills and how to look after your plants. This advice can be accompanied by school visits I do from time to time but it’s up to the school and the pupils to grow and present produce for sale at the market when the time comes. The children are also given a tour around the market to get tips on sales techniques and how to set up a stall.

What an effort is made when market day comes – the stalls themselves are always presented in fantastic fashion, with children’s artwork and displays really making the produce stand out. The star of the show though has to be the produce the kids have grown. It’s incredibly rewarding for me to see how closely they have listened and, as always their amazing enthusiasm. You can never tire of gardening with children and this project highlights just how much they get it of it.

I will be at the Autumn Sale on 5 October, representing Garden Organic, School Food Matters and Food Growing Schools: London. We always have some esteemed company as the mayor of Southwark attends and usually the local MP, which in itself attracts the media, creating yet another experience for our young growers.

My work doesn’t end there though as I have the impossible task of picking the winning stall…wish me luck, I’m going to need it!”

Christopher M Collins,
Head of Organic Horticulture
Garden Organic

Are you looking to get your school involved in food growing and enterprise activities? Find free resources on our website to get you started, like our Grow Your Own Business activity pack!

Up Next: Young Marketeers Harvest & Apple Sale

Eleven schools from Southwark and beyond will head to Borough Market laden with Autumn produce on October 5 for the Young Marketeers Harvest Sale.

Brand new for this year is an Apple Sale which will see students learn all about planting, harvesting and storing heritage variety apples to help tackle the issues around surplus autumn fruit.

Head on down to the Market Hall between 11.30 – 1.30pm to show your support and help raise money for FareShare, an organisation fighting hunger and tackling food waste.

For more information please visit the School Food Matters website.

Young Marketeers Harvest Sale

Thursday 6 October 2016, 11am-2pm. Borough Market

Fifteen schools from Southwark and beyond will head to Borough Market laden with Autumn produce on October 6 for the 5th anniversary of the Young Marketeers Harvest Sale.

See the children in action between 11 and 2pm and purchase their delicious school-grown produce.

Beginning with whole school assemblies delivered by FareShare, children in the participating schools have been learning about the challenges of food poverty and the absurdity of food waste.

For the Harvest Sale Chris Collins, former Blue Peter Gardener, has been teaching primary school children the art of growing veg from seed and Borough Market traders share their trade secrets on how to create a winning market stall.

All proceeds from the Young Marketeers sales will go to food surplus charity FareShare, and every £ raised = 4 meals for vulnerable families. Their lovely film will tell you the whole story! Find out more (School Food Matters).

Interested in starting your own school food growing business?  Check out our new FREE Grow Your Own Business themed pack for Autumn 2016 – it’s packed full of ideas and tips to help your students to Sow It. Grow It. Sell It!

Download the pack now to find links to enterprise resources, activity sheets, partner events, competitions, and top tips on growing, cooking and selling your school produce, and much much more…

Summer School Marketplace events across London

Students across London have been working hard tending to their gardens and allotments all term, and the crops have been bountiful.  Marketplace events held this month, have seen them to come together to sell the produce from their plots and the yummy treats they have made, and what a success they have been.

Kicking off in Croydon on 5th July was the borough’s first ever schools food market.  Children from 16 local schools sold their wares to Croydon residents who were delighted to grab a healthy bargain whilst helping the students to develop their business and communication skills.

CCollins_ Sharon Hodgson_Young Marketters_Borough Market 2016
MP for School Food Sharon Hodgson and Chris Collins at Young Marketters, Borough Market. Photo: Kate Groves/ Garden Organic

On 7th July Borough Market was the venue for the School Food Matters’ Young Marketeers to pitch their stalls.  Students sold a range of produce including peas, spinach, potatoes, beetroot and herbs, and their stalls proved to be as busy as the rest of the bustling market.

Amongst the crowds were the MP for School Food Sharon Hodgson, Mayor of Southwark Kath Whittam and the Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, Bishop of Southwark.  All proceeds from the event were donated to FareShare to provide meals for vulnerable families.

On 12th July it was the turn of Tower Hamlets to host a magnificent marketplace with students from a number of local schools offering almost everything you could think of!

Last but certainly not least some savvy students made their sales at the City Hall Schools Marketplace on Thursday 14th July.  Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan and Rosie Boycott, The Mayor of London’s Food Advisor and Chair of the London Food Board, visited the stalls hosted by six London schools and was difficult to choose from the huge array of edible treats grown and made by the students.

There are many more school marketplace events happening across London throughout the year. And if you haven’t yet started on your school food growing journey, we can give you lots of free advice and support to help you on your way.

To get involved, sign up to receive our newsletter and be the first to find out where and when the next events are.

Save

Save

Save

Young Marketeers at Borough Market

June sees School Food Matters Young Marketeers schools receiving visits from the team at Food Growing Schools London. Skilled horticulturists will be on hand to deal with any veg related problems to ensure a bountiful crop to sell at Borough Market.

In April and May, the students had two training days at Borough market on seed sowing and market trading followed by a visit to the Fareshare depot.

The project culminates in two sales days, with half the schools selling their produce on the summer sale on July 7 and the other half at the harvest sale in October. This project allows children from 16 schools to sell food they have grown at school at Borough Market, the proceeds of any sale going to the charity Fareshare.