21 July 2015
Three Edible Playgrounds get the grow ahead
2000 more children learn about growing and eating healthy food
2000 children from four schools will have the opportunity to get growing thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery. The charity Trees for Cities will create an Edible Playground at The Palmer Primary Academy in Reading and Baguley Hall Primary School in Manchester whilst Meridian High School and Fairchildes Primary School in Croydon will share an Edible Playground.
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, Birmingham, Leeds and Reading.
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, Edible Playgrounds 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.
The edible playgrounds will be designed specifically for each school, but elements include raised beds for growing salads, root vegetables, brassicas soft fruits and herbs, fruit trees, a green house 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 pupils will enjoy hands-on cooking lessons from Chefs Adopt a School and have access to food education programmes outside the school gate via charity School Food Matter’s Membership for Schools. School Food Matters will also support the schools to achieve their first Food for Life Award.
Sharon Johnson, Chief Executive of Trees for Cities said: “Edible Playgrounds show children how rewarding it is to spend time outdoors and get them excited about where their food comes from. Currently we have developed over 25 edible playgrounds supporting over 10,000 pupils across the UK. With 37 per cent of children between ages of 5 – 12 not eating enough every day and 20 per cent obese on leaving primary school, more and more schools are now educating their children on how food is grown and on making healthy eating choices.”
Martin Giles, Head teacher of Meridian High School said “Our School is a family. That means, above all else, we help each other to learn, grow and improve now and always. Just like our planned Edible Playground!”
Ros Sandell, Executive Head of Fairchildes Primary School said: “The Edible Playground Project provides a great opportunity for a new initiative covering healthy eating, community engagement and partnership working with Meridian High School. We have worked together previously in various capacities, but this would be a new direction for us and the benefits would be enormous for us both.”
Meridian High School and Fairchildes Primary School are two of Croydon’s Food Flagship Schools, supported by the Mayor of London. The schools are leading the way in inspiring and encouraging the communities of Croydon to grow and eat healthier food.
Meridian High School and Fairchildes Primary School
Fairchildes is an outstanding primary school keen to give its pupils more opportunities to learn how to grow food. They are joining forces with Meridian High School, their next door neighbour, to create a shared Edible Playground. Both schools are Croydon Food Flagship Schools, as part of the Croydon Food Flagship Borough Programme, and are keen to use their Edible Playground to give their pupils the opportunity to learn how to grow food, understand more about healthy eating and to provide the local community with a resource to share and be proud of. www.croydon.gov.uk/food-flagship-borough
9 July 2015
Schools receive surprise Mayor of London visit at the School’s Marketplace, City Hall
The School’s Marketplace at City Hall, on Thursday 9th July, was a huge success, with 10 London schools battling their way through the London tube strike to arrive laden with produce to sell to the public. The standard of fresh produce and home-made products (such as preserves, cordials, edible plants etc) was extremely high. The students, from infants right through to secondary school, took the lead as professional sales people, confidently answering customer’s questions about the goodies they had on offer.
During the School’s Marketplace the school’s had a surprise visit from the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson who visited every one of their stalls and went home with armfuls of school-grown produce. As you can imagine, the students (and teachers!), were very excited to welcome this special guest.
To see more photographs of the day visit our: Flickr photo gallery.
Grow Your Own School Garden Competition – Announcing the Winners!
At the School’s Marketplace The Mayor of London also took part in giving out the prizes at our ‘Grow your Own School Garden Competition’ Award Ceremony, with our generous competition sponsors. A huge thank you to The Organic Gardening Catalogue, Haxnicks and VegTrug for donating the competition prizes, and to BBC TV Gardener, Chris Collins, for being our competition judge.
Congratulations to the following three schools who received their awards to huge applause, and look forward to setting up their own school gardens:
To see more photographs of the day visit our: Flickr photo gallery.
1st Prize – Richard Challoner School (Kingston)
2nd Prize – Our Lady of Grace Catholic Infant School (Brent)
3rd Prize – Richmond Park Academy (Richmond)
For more information about the School’s Marketplace and ‘Grow Your Own School Garden Competition Award Ceremony See related press release below:
6 July 2015
City Hall hosts School’s Marketplace for a second year
The Mayor of London’s Food Programme team are opening the doors of the prestigious City Hall to welcome 10 London schools to hold their very own Schools Marketplace. Taking place on Thursday 9th July 2015 from 12noon to 3pm, the event will be a mouth-watering showcase for delicious food grown in London’s schools. Sample tasty produce and fill your shopping bags with edible school-grown treats – from jams and chutneys, to salads, herbs, cordials, dips and more. The Schools Marketplace, is the grand finale of Grow Your Own Picnic 2015, a term-long celebration of food growing in London schools: www.foodgrowingschools.org/events/picnic
The Schools Marketplace is organised by the Food Growing Schools: London partnership, led by Garden Organic, and Capital Growth. In 2014 schools sold produce to the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, and Ireland’s Prime Minister Enda Kenny!
The Mayor has formed a range of partnerships that are helping to transform London’s food environment. These include the Healthy Schools London awards programme, which incentivises the capital’s schools to adopt a whole-school approach to improving health by creating an environment which encourages growing and eating fresh, nutritious food. In addition the London Food programme has established two Food Flagship boroughs: Croydon and Lambeth, to demonstrate the impact on health and attainment achievable through improving food across the whole environment, using schools as a catalyst to drive this change.
Rosie Boycott, Chair of London Food, said: “It’s fantastic to see the enthusiasm among teachers, children and parents around growing and eating fresh, healthy food in schools.
“Involving school children in growing food helps to foster a love of good, healthy and nutritious produce, which is why the Mayor is supporting this initiative.”
As well as produce stalls, an award ceremony for the exciting new Grow Your Own School Garden Competition will take place at 1.30pm. Judged by BBC TV Gardener Chris Collins, the competition is aimed at London schools that aren’t yet growing food. Eligible schools were tasked with setting up a school gardening group, planning a new school growing space, identifying community support and making a gardening equipment wishlist. The three London schools that have been shortlisted to win are: Our Lady of Grace Catholic Infant School (Brent); Richard Challoner School (Kingston) and Richmond Park Academy (Richmond).
The winners will receive fantastic prizes to start their own school garden, including £500 worth of garden vouchers from The Organic Gardening Catalogue and half a day with a garden expert. Second and Third prize have been kindly donated by Haxnicks and VegTrug. “Inspiring young people to grow their own healthy food, and to develop their knowledge of growing and the skills involved, is at the core of what we believe in at The Organic Gardening Catalogue. We’re delighted to be able to support the Grow Your Own School Garden competition and hope that it will encourage more youngsters to get growing, they are after all, the next generation of farmers and growers!”- Michael Hedges, Managing Director, Chase Organics and The Organic Gardening Catalogue. www.foodgrowingschools.org/resources/competitions
The next Food Growing Schools: London schools project is Grow Your Own Business 2015, which will launch for a second year in September 2015. To download a free 30-page schools activity pack and join in, visit: www.foodgrowingschools.org/events
Schools Marketplace – Thursday 9 July 2015, 12 – 3pm. City Hall, The Queen’s Walk London SE1 2AA
Participating school stallholders: www.foodgrowingschools.org/events
- Bensham Manor Secondary, Croydon
- Bethnal Green Academy (Secondary), Tower Hamlets
- Charlton Park Academy (Secondary), Greenwich
- Christ Church C of E Primary, Wandsworth
- Glebe School (Secondary), Bromley
- Park View Secondary, Haringey
- Rhyl Primary, Camden
- Selwyn Primary, Newham
- The UCL Academy (Secondary), Camden
- Trafalgar Infant School, Richmond
What our sponsors say:
See main body of press release for: Chris Collins (BBC TV Gardener) and Michael Hedges, Managing Director, Chase Organics and The Organic Gardening Catalogue.
‘Haxnicks are passionate about gardening and have a history of designing great new products to help everyone else who loves to grow. We are very excited to be supporting a project that is sowing the seeds for a new generation of grow-your-own enthusiasts, particularly in spaces and places where it might not otherwise be happening. We wish the schools good luck with their growing and happy harvesting too!’ Damian Cardozo, Haxnicks Founder
‘We are delighted to support the Food Growing Schools Project. It is essential for our future that our children get a hands on chance to grow food and plants in general. We work tirelessly around the world promoting grow your own and healthy eating and the London Schools Project is something we want to encourage as much as we can. Well done to everyone involved.’ Joe Denham, CEO for VegTrug Limited.
Food Growing Schools: London – Growing Ideas. Sowing Inspiration. Cultivating Futures.
Led by Garden Organic, the Food Growing Schools: London (FGSL) partnership brings together the very best of London’s food growing expertise, information and support, with the ambition to inspire and equip every school in London to grow their own food. Garden Organic is working in partnership with Capital Growth, Food For Life Partnership, Morrisons Let’s Grow, Royal Horticultural Society, School Food Matters and Trees for Cities. Funded by The Mayor of London and the Big Lottery Fund, the project aims to cultivate young people’s love for learning, and hunger for knowledge, and develop supportive local communities through food. www.foodgrowingschools.org
Food Flagship Boroughs – Croydon and Lambeth
The Greater London Authority (GLA) is happy to be supporting Food Growing Schools: London (FGSL) to deliver a series of food growing training workshops in Croydon and Lambeth schools, and one to one support to 15 schools in Croydon that are not already food growing.
www.london.gov.uk/priorities/business-economy/working-in-partnership/london-food-board/london-boroughs/food-flagships . To ensure your school is eligible for FGSL initiatives, please fill in our survey: www.foodgrowingschools.org/challenge
Garden Organic is the UK’s leading organic growing charity, dedicated to researching and promoting organic gardening, farming and food. We have been bringing the benefits of gardening to schools, big and small, for over 20 years, helping students and communities access the benefits of growing food and engage in hands on, practical activity. We do this through our training, project work, volunteer programmes and inspiring demonstration gardens at Ryton, near Coventry. As a partner in the Food for Life Partnership our education programmes, training and resources help teachers and school professionals to embed food growing as part of a whole school approach. www.gardenorganic.org.uk
Capital Growth, supported by the Mayor of London, runs a network for community food growing projects in London, providing advice, events, training and other support. They currently have over 700 schools in the network, many of whom have received funding, competition awards and other types of support and advice. As part of the charity Sustain, Capital Growth also runs annual events such as Edible Open Gardens Day, urban Food Fortnight and the Big Dig which all members are encouraged to get involved in to raise the profile of their project. www.capitalgrowth.org/themes/schools
6 Jul 2015
School Food Plan Publishes New Guidance to Support Ofsted Changes
The School Food Plan has produced practical guidance to help school leaders and governing bodies adopt a whole school approach to food and create a culture and ethos of healthy eating. It is designed to be used alongside other School Food Plan resources including the Headteacher Checklist and What Works Well website.
Ofsted, which we consulted in developing the guidance, will be making this document available to inspectors in their training. Download on our Resources page.
01 July 2015
In case you didn’t watch the launch or haven’t seen the news, we are sad to announce that on Sunday afternoon the SpaceX-7 rocket exploded, along with our seeds and other precious cargo, shortly after take-off. The rocket was unmanned and broke up in the air so no one was harmed.
We always knew that there was a chance that whatever vehicle the seeds flew on it might experience a problem, as this is the nature of space flight. This is one of the reasons why we decided to send the seeds up many months before Tim Peake himself arrives at the International Space Station later this year. It also means that these seeds will be highly prized when they finally make their epic journey!
We have already procured more rocket seeds from the same British seed company Tozer Seeds, and are working with the UK Space Agency and European Space Agency to get these seeds on one of the next available cargo launches.
The rest of the project will continue on the same timeline so we will still open up official registrations in September and seeds and resource packs will be sent in spring 2016. Schools should continue to register their interest in the project and be the first to apply for seeds here.
We will keep you updated with progress as we continue. Please keep an eye on our website and follow @RHSSchools on Twitter for more information.