Trees for Cities is hiring for Edible Playgrounds programme

Trees for Cities is an ambitious, far-reaching organisation.

Since its inception they have engaged over 65,000 people to plant 500,000 trees focusing on health, food security, and environmental protection and providing opportunities for education and learning through the Edible Playgrounds and Urban Forest programmes.

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.

Now Recruiting

If you have a passion for food growing in schools and are looking for work in London, there are a couple great opportunities to join the Edible Playgrounds team. The roles of Landscape Coordinator and Project Development Officer are currently available- find out more here.

If you’d like to find out more about Edible Playgrounds, click here.




Best crop yet – 87% of London schools involved in food growing!

Since the launch of the Food Growing Schools: London Partnership in 2013 we have been working hard to help schools across London to grow their own food.  Over the summer we tasked research teams from the University of the West of England (Bristol) and Cardiff University to carry out an independent project evaluation so we could see how we were doing, and we’re pretty proud of the results.

The interim report was launched at City Hall on 13th October 2016 with support from Joanne McCartney AM, Deputy Mayor for London.  You can read the report in full but here are our favourite bits!

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More schools and pupils involved

87% of London schools that completed the Food Growing Schools: London survey* are now involved in food growing, and double the number of pupils are growing food in their schools. Our Growathon engaged 54,000 pupils in food growing in London up to July 2016, and 1 in 4 schools now link food growing directly to curriculum activities, embedding knowledge and skills.

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Improved skills, knowledge and behaviour

Schools have told us that food growing is having a positive impact on the education, health and well-being of their pupils, way beyond just getting their hands dirty and learning outside. 61.7% said students were more aware of nature, healthy eating and sustainability, 76.2% said pupils had enhanced knowledge and skills, and a whopping 79.2% reported improved behaviour or attainment.  That’s got to be something to celebrate!

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Increased community involvement

Schools told us that food growing has helped them to increase involvement from parents and the local community including businesses and voluntary organisations, with around 1,000 volunteers and school staff undertaking food growing training.  FGSL is helping to promote sustainability by creating strong supportive local networks where schools can help each other – sharing experience and knowledge through forums and FGSL’s pan-London school food growing conferences.

Don’t stop now!

Together, we have discovered the huge benefits of growing food in schools – improving young people’s education, health, the environment, the local economy and the impact on the local community. It’s vital now that we all continue to work together to help young people in our schools keep growing and flourishing.

Whether you are already growing food in your school, you wish to get started, or you represent an organisation who can help, here are just a few of our fantastic resources to help you get involved:

Planting seeds for the future

We think this is all pretty exciting but the undeniable benefits of food growing mean we’re keener than ever to improve on our achievements to date. We want to reach every London school and as many pupils as possible, and we want food growing to be more deeply embedded within schools.  We have the help of our wonderful partners but the Food Growing Schools: London project is due to end in March 2017.

We are looking for funding and support to continue to make an impact in schools across London, so if you can help us to reach our goals please contact FGSL Project Manager, Kate Groves:

Food Growing Schools: London – Sowing Ideas. Growing Inspiration. Cultivating Futures.

*Figures based on evaluation surveys with lead school teachers in September 2013 (n=504) and July 2016 (n=241). The independent FGSL project evaluation was carried out by research teams from the University of the West England and Cardiff University.






Exciting Autumn food events

Get set for some food growing inspiration this Autumn with these fantastic events.

Urban Food Fortnight, 9-25 September 2016

Organised by Sustain, Urban Food Fortnight is the capital’s celebration of the fabulous ultra-local produce being grown, produced and cooked on our doorstep. Events will take place across London during these two weeks including pop-up dinners in community gardens, special menus featuring London-grown produce, food talks and more.  Try cheese from Tottenham, lamb reared in Enfield and salad grown in Hackney and take inspiration back to your own plot ready for some Autumn sowing and Spring planning. (Capital Growth)

Urban Harvest Feast, 17 September 2016

Get a taste of London’s edible gardens as Capital Growth community food growing gardens open their doors and welcome visitors in for free.  Events include foraging walks, cob oven pizza feasts, fresh apple pressing, bonfires and musical performances.  You can even enter your own school grown produce in a classic vegetable show in Stratford, or take inspiration and get tips on how to grow your own in Bethnal Green.

Check out the map to find out what’s happening near you.

London Fairtrade Schools Conference, 10 October 2016, 9.30am-2.30pm

Organised by Trading Visions and Fairtrade Foundation, this conference is to inspire pupils, teachers and support staff in London about Fairtrade. Don’t miss this amazing opportunity to hear two special guests, Esther and Samuel both aged 15, from a cocoa growing community in Ghana, who will speak about the Kuapa Kokoo Fairtrade co-operative that co-owns Divine Chocolate.  Other highlights include workshops on cocoa and the impact of Fairtrade, plus a make-your-own smoothie bike, and an opportunity to learn how to taste chocolate properly – yum!

The conference is open to students aged 7-14.  Places coste £2 each and are limited to up to two adults and eight students per school.  Snacks and drinks for breaks will be provided but please bring a packed lunch.

Email to book your places.

London Fairtrade Schools Conference, Friends House, 173-177 Euston Road, NW1 2BJ


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…

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.

FGSL Barnet Forum: food growing inspiration for schools

Food Growing Schools: London are inviting all the schools in Barnet interested in food growing projects to a forum at Chalgrove Primary School, Chalgrove Gardens, Finchley, N33PL on Wednesday 22nd June from 3.30 to 5.30pm.

This forum is a chance to gain inspiration and ideas from another food growing school, share ideas and learn something new through a seasonal activity run by Food Growing Schools: London. We would also like these forums to act as a swap shop, so please bring along seeds, plants, tools and educational resources you would either like to share, give away or swap with other schools.
There will  be also plenty of free seeds and resources available from Food Growing Schools: London.

These forum meetings are open to anyone from Barnet schools involved in or wishing to develop a food growing project including staff, parents, volunteers.

Please contact FGSL Engagement Officer Paul Sadler at to confirm you would like to attend

Celebrate Empty Classroom Day – Friday 17th June

Empty Classroom Day is a day to celebrate and inspire learning and play outside the classroom, and we want YOU to get involved! Food Growing Schools: London is supporting this amazing initiative inviting all the schools in London to grow food

Join schools from across the world in taking at least one class outdoors, and then see if you can get the rest of your year group outside or maybe your whole school? This year we are focussing on playtime too, it’s just as important as the rest of the school day!

Check out the resources page for inspirational lesson plans, posters and advice on how to make Empty Classroom Day brilliant and how to sustain outdoor play and learning all year round.

Empty Classroom Day this year is part of a GLOBAL campaign, backed by Persil’s Dirt is Good movement, so there will be loads of opportunities to share not only with schools across the UK, but across the world.

Be part of a movement that gets children outdoors at school every day!

And if you grow food outside on Friday 17th June within Empty Classroom Day initiative, you will be joining also in the Growathon Challenge, a FGSL campaign which aims to get 50000 students growing food in London by the end of Summer 2016.

A sixth Dream Fund Edible Playground announced in Liverpool

St Teresa of Lisieux Catholic Primary School, which is situated in the Norris Green area of Liverpool, is about to embark on a new teaching and learning journey over the next few years, thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

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.

Trees for Cities will transform areas of the school playground into an edible playground, which will give pupils at St Teresa’s the opportunity to grow fruit and vegetables and learn why healthy eating is important.  As well as enriching the pupils learning experience, it will also enable the teachers to teach across their broad and creative curriculum in a fun and engaging outdoor space.

“Outdoor learning, linked to project based learning, is a major passion of mine and we are delighted to be working with Trees for Cities to transform areas of our school grounds into an edible playground”, said Acting Head Teacher, Andrew Tremarco.

“We have also created a Cookery Classroom and our school cook delivers cooking lessons to students 2-3 times a week. We welcome Chefs Adopt a School, as part of the Dream Fund programme, to raise the profile of cooking in school even further and are excited to be working towards a Food for Life Award with third charity partner School Food Matters”.

The edible playground will be designed specifically for the school, including 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.

Clara Govier, Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery said: “We are delighted that the £249,180 in funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery is allowing Edible Playground across the country, the success of the project is proven and I can’t wait to see the impact in Liverpool.”

David Elliott, Chief Executive at Trees for Cities said “We are delighted to announce our sixth Dream Fund Edible Playground at St Teresa of Lisieux Catholic Primary School in Liverpool. 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 30 edible playgrounds supporting over 10,000 pupils across the UK.”.

The edible playground will be completed by September after which there will be a launch event to celebrate their fantastic new garden.

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.

Grow Well, Feel Well event – Saturday 9 July 2016

Capital Growth newest city-wide garden open day is all about showcasing the many ways gardening can benefit our health and well-being, and to offer new opportunities and activities for volunteers to engage with community gardens.

Lots of great activities will be planned, including: meditation in the garden, growing and using medicinal herbs, garden tours and much more.

Capital Growth is looking for 20 gardens to take part by hosting activities or events for volunteers, families, newcomers or others, and we’ve got a bit of funding available to help make it happen. Some examples might include

  • cooking with garden harvests
  • yoga or meditation in the garden
  • how to grow medicinal herbs
  • shared community meals
  • special volunteer opportunities
  • anything else you can think up – we are open to any fresh, new ideas!

Keep an eye on Capital Growth webpage to find out what your local garden will be doing, and join them on the day!


Growing School Hero Award – entries open!

How much does your school garden grow?

Over 60 schools and 8000 pupils in London are already taking part in the Harvest-ometer challenge – join them now!

This award is for any pupil, school volunteer, parent or a teacher that has really worked hard to make your school garden special.  The winner will be awarded a certificate at the City Hall School Marketplace on July 14 and the school will win a great prize (mini orchard, chickens and a beekeeper’s visits are some of the prizes your school could win).

Nominate your Growing School Hero using our downloadable form here.

The Growing School Hero Award is part of Capital Growth Harvest-ometer Challenge.