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.

 

Sadiq Khan savours homegrown treats from London schools at City Hall

The Mayor of London opened the doors of City Hall to welcome six London schools to hold their very own Schools Marketplace on Thursday 14 July 2016. The event showcased delicious food grown in London’s schools – from salads, chards, rocket, beetroot, potatoes and herbs, to home made products such as plum jams and mango chutneys, tasty elderflower cordials, mint dips and more.

The Schools Marketplace event is part of the  Growathon initiative, which aims to get 50,000 pupils involved in food growing by the end of the summer term, run by the FGSL.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, visited every stall and said:

“I’m really pleased to host the Schools Marketplace in City Hall. I want to help Londoners to have access to better food, and lead healthier lifestyles, so it’s great to see these young people growing their own grub and developing entrepreneurial skills.”

Sadiq Khan with pupils at Marketplace 16
Sadiq Khan with pupils at Marketplace 16. Photo: Maria C. Bada/ Garden Organic

The Schools Marketplace was organised by FGSL and partner Capital Growth, who were delighted with the number of schools that took part in this and another initiatives as part of its Growathon campaign, which also included a film competition and other marketplace events across London.

Chair of the London Food Board, Rosie Boycott, said:

“These young people have shown that with some hard work and only a small amount of money you can create a wide range of food and drink using ingredients you have grown yourself. By starting young they’re laying the groundwork for a lifetime of enjoying their own produce.”

Sadiq Khan_Rosie Boycott_Summer Sale School Marketplace 2016
Photo: Maria C. Bada / Garden Organic

As well as produce stalls, an award ceremony for the Capital Growth “Showcase your Growing Competition” took place at 1.30pm. Judged by Chris Collins, best known as the former TV Blue Peter gardener, the winning schools (Selwyn Primary School – Newham, Glebe School – Bromley and Copenaghen Primary – Islington, were given prizes, including a great set of Bulldog Tools.

Former TV Blue Peter gardener, Chris Collins, said:

“It’s brilliant to see schools getting involved in food growing and enjoying themselves whilst they’re at it. Not only are young people learning where our food comes from, they’re also getting healthy, gaining valuable skills and learning to be enterprising by selling their produce at Marketplace events like this one today!”

During the ceremony, the winners of Capital Growth’s ‘Harvest-ometer Challenge’ were also annouced. The challenge inspired and helped schools to grow and measure their harvest with an online tool that calcualtes the value of your harvest. Trafalgar Infant School, Richmond won the “Most food grown per Sqm” award; Charlton Manor Primary School, Greenwich, the “Biggest range of produce” title and Ambler Primary School, Islington, was nominated as “Growing School Hero”.
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, a visit from the highly skilled FGSL gardening team and freebies to support their school’s food growing activities.

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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.