Celebrating our success – a City Hall event

FGSL growing activities at the Edible Garden Show. Photo: Jane Baker/Garden Organic
FGSL growing activities at the Edible Garden Show. Photo: Jane Baker/Garden Organic

We are delighted to announce that we will be celebrating the success of Food Growing Schools: London (FGSL) with a special event in the London’s Living Room at City Hall on Thursday 13 October, from 10.45am to 1.30pm, including lunch.

The event will be hosted by the GLA and opened by the Deputy Mayor of London Joanne McCartney. It will be a fantastic opportunity to bring together people from across the capital that have been part of our journey and that join us in our ambition to get every London school growing their own food!

Coinciding with our final Schools Marketplace in partnership with Capital Growth at City Hall, everyone coming to the event will also have the opportunity to visit the 15 stalls held by children on the Lower Ground floor. As always, schools will showcase their food growing by selling school grown produce and products such as chutneys, jams, herbs and winter salads. What better way to start our FGSL celebration than to see enterprising schools at work! The Schools Marketplace takes place as part of Grow Your Own Business activities this Autumn term.

Speakers at the celebration event include Chris Collins (Broadcaster and Head of Horticulture at Garden Organic), James Campbell (CEO Garden Organic), Professor Judy Orme MFPH (MSc Health Promotion), and Mat Jones MPhil, BA, PG Cert (University of West England) who will share the great successes of Food Growing Schools: London to date.

It will be a chance to look at why food growing is important and the transformational impact it can have on children and schools that get involved. We will hear first-hand from teachers and children about the benefits and why they think EVERY school in London should grow their own food.

To find out more and to book a place visit Eventbrite.

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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.

 

Grow On, Film It! competition: 2016 winners announced!

In celebration of Food Growing Schools: London’s #Growathon – the biggest school food growing challenge of the year – Trees for Cities ran a short film competition about planting, sowing, growing, gardening, harvesting and eating good food at school! They had a number of amazing entries and after careful consideration the panel of judges (which included Horticulturalist and Trees for Cities patron Chris Collins; Stephanie Wood, Founder of School Food Matters; Colette Bond, Head of Education, Garden Organic and Kate Groves, Project Manager, Food Growing Schools: London) have picked the winners.

This year’s winner of the Grow On Film It! competition is Copenhagen Primary School in Islington.  Copenhagen have won £500 worth of gardening equipment and their school’s film will be shown at the coming Schools Marketplace event at the City Hall on Thursday 14 July.

The runner up prize was awarded to Meridian High School in Croydon who get £100 worth of gardening and growing equipment. A special mention went to Midfield Primary School in Bromley for their great contribution called “Snail on a Trail”.

Every school submitting a short film will receive a seasonal growing pack

Watch the winning entries

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Short Film Competition from Edible Playgrounds – Still time to enter

08 May 2016

As part of the Food Growing Schools: London Growathon challenge Edible Playgrounds and Trees for Cities are asking pupils in London to make a short film about food growing at their school.

Make a short film (3 minutes or under) about planting, sowing, growing, gardening and harvesting healthy food at school and win £500 worth of gardening equipment!

Former Blue Peter Gardener and Trees for Cities Patron, Chris Collins will head a panel of judges to decide on the winning entry. There is no limit to how many short films each school can submit, which means fun class projects for all! All films must be submitted by 5pm Friday 17 June. The winning entry will be featured on the Trees for Cities YouTube channel and Food Growing Schools London website.

Good luck!

Prizes

  • 1st prize – £500 worth of gardening and growing equipment
  • 2nd prize – £100 worth of gardening and growing equipment
  • Every school submitting a short film will receive a seasonal growing pack

How to Enter

Visit: www.edibleplaygrounds.org for details on how to enter and for your chance to win! Entries close: Friday, June 17, 2016

TV gardener Chris Collins announces food growing target for London’s green fingered kids

21 March 2016

We are delighted to report that Chris Collins, best known as the former TV Blue Peter gardener, joined us as a special guest for the first ever Food Growing Schools: London conference last week.

The event took place at Argyle School in Camden and was one of two schools conferences this spring that bring teachers and schools from across London together, with the aim of inspiring and supporting them to become food growing schools.

Chris Collins is a long-standing ambassador of Garden Organic, and a big supporter of Food Growing Schools: London. His inspirational opening speech took the audience through his impressive career spanning 30 years and including lots more than Blue Peter as he’s worked extensively in Africa, at Kew Gardens and Westminster Abbey too.

Chris used the conference as an opportunity to announce that the original target for London’s biggest food growing count, the ‘Growathon’ has been met. It is estimated that over 10,000 London pupils are now involved in growing food at school, with the number climbing by the week.

Having already beaten this target, we are now setting the ambitious aim of reaching 50,000 school pupils by the end of the Summer.


TV Gardener Chris Collins inspires at the First Food Growing Schools: London conference


16 March 2016

The very first Food Growing Schools: London (FGSL) conference took place at Argyle School in Camden this week.

It was one of two schools conferences FGSL are organising this spring to bring schools from across London together with the aim of inspiring and supporting them to become food growing schools.

The FGSL North London Conference explored a variety of interactive and informative advice and hands-on activities led by London’s school food growing experts. After an inspirational welcome from Chris Collins, famous TV gardener and ambassador for lead partner Garden Organic, the schools conference took place with workshops led by a number of the FGSL partner organisations, including Capital Growth and the RHS Campaign for School Gardening, School Food Matters and Trees for Cities.

The event was also supported by Chase Organic Gardening catalogue, who provided seeds for delegates, and Abel & Cole, who donated fruit baskets for the conference.

The day included a keynote speech from Chris Collins and a “Gardener’s Question Time” where the audience had the opportunity to get valuable advice from the highly skilled panel. Top tips included how to engage teenagers and how to grow using horse manure in your soil, adapting small spaces and following the seasons in the year.

Chris Collins said: “I am delighted to be the keynote speaker for the Food Growing Schools: London Conferences. I really value the opportunity to share my food growing experience with teachers and younger generations. As a long standing ambassador for Garden Organic, I am always keen to support this kind of initiative and get more schools growing.”

A limited number of places are still available for the next FGSL Schools Conference which will be on Monday 11 April in Southwark. For each conference FGSL is offering 50 free places to the schools worth £150 per delegate.

Any London school, teachers and volunteers can access free support, tips and materials by signing up to Food Growing Schools: London.


 

TV gardener Chris Collins confirmed as the keynote speaker for Food Growing Schools: London upcoming Schools Conference 2016

18 February 2016

Chris Collins, famous TV gardener and passionate Garden Organic ambassador, will be the keynote speaker at the two Schools conferences organised this spring by Food Growing Schools: London, a project which brings together since 2014 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.

Chris Collins, TV gardener, quote: “I am very excited to be the keynote speaker for the Food Growing Schools London Conferences. I value greatly the opportunity of sharing my food growing experience with teachers, and younger generations. As a long standing ambassador for Garden Organic, I am always keen to support this kind of initiatives that gets more schools growing.”

Chris will be also part of the “Gardeners Question Time” activity held during the conferences which will be packed full of growing ideas for all the participants. London schools are welcome to book a place at one of the FGSL Schools Conferences which will be held on Tuesday 15th March in Camden (Argyle School) and Monday 11th April in Southwark (John Ruskin). Two venues, one conference for a day of school gardening workshops delivering  a variety of interactive and informative advice and hands-on activities led by London’s school food growing experts.

Jemima Wade, Headteacher of Argyle School, said: “Hosting the FGSL Schools Conference 2016 will be a great pleasure for us, as we foster and support food growing in our school. We are therefore pleased to share our space with other London schools during the March conference day”.

The event aims to bring together schools from across London to be inspired by the breadth of support available to them in order to grow food.  It will include a welcome address from Chris Collins and lead partner Garden Organic who will be joined by a number of partners including School Food Matters, Trees for Cities, Capital Growth and the RHS Campaign for School Gardening.

Suzy Gregory, Headteacher of John Ruskin School, said “We are very excited to host the FGSL Schools Conference 2016 at our school. Food growing plays a central part in our school, pupils take part in everyday growing that develops a love of food and an understanding of the journey from seed to plate. We are delighted to have the opportunity to share our progress with other London schools during the upcoming event in April”.

Topics will cover meeting new Ofsted and curriculum guidelines using food growing; planning and constructing a growing space, food growing and enterprise. There will also be the opportunity for tours of the on-site school gardens which host the conference, a Marketplace showcasing London school food growing organisations, and a tasty networking lunch.

For each conference Food Growing Schools: London is offering 50 free places to the schools worth £150 per delegate. For more information and to book visit: https://www.foodgrowingschools.org/events/#Schools%20Conference%202016

Looking now for food growing support materials, tips, resources? All London schools and volunteers can sign up for free on https://www.foodgrowingschools.org/