Train a trainer with Food for Life in Greenwich

Transforming food culture

One of our Food Growing Schools: London partners, Soil Association Food for Life is working with the London Royal Borough of Greenwich to transform food culture in the borough.

Alexander McLeod Primary School in Abbey Wood hosted a few keen people on 5 Dec 2017  who had food growing and healthy cooking on their minds as part of the Food for Life Train the Trainer partnership in Greenwich.

The project is about community-based people training others in areas of food education linked to promoting a healthy lifestyle through food, both in growing healthy food and then also using that healthy food to prepare meals.

Train a trainer

The food growing element of the training was led by Garden Organic’s Associate Liz Davies.  She took participants through the elements of the Food for Life awards criteria, whole school approach to food education linked to the primary curriculum, organic growing in schools and also composting in schools.

Integrating organic growing with the primary curriculum focusing on Food for Life activities including school community engagement brought everything to life by using the school’s glorious growing space as a foundation for learning.

The afternoon finished with participants’ trialing practical activities highlighting health and safety considerations in schools along with curriculum planning and seed saving ideas.

Events like these help to gather bright minds and great ideas, to help build stronger, healthier communities.


If you’d like to find out more about the Soil Association Food For Life programme and related initiatives, please visit their website.

London schools celebrate food growing success at City Hall

Junior Gardeners’ Question Time at the Food Growing Schools: London Celebration Event at City Hall. The young panellists were from Trafalgar Infant School (Richmond), Rokesly Junior School (Haringey) and Reay Primary School (Lambeth).
Junior Gardeners’ Question Time panelists from Trafalgar Infant School (Richmond), Rokesly Junior School (Haringey) and Reay Primary School (Lambeth). Photo: Jane Baker/Garden Organic.

From strawberry jam to tomato ketchup, and the great British apple to winter salad bags – young entrepreneurs from 10 London schools shared their food growing skills with the public at City Hall on Thursday 13 October 2016. They represent the increasing number of London students experiencing the huge benefits of food growing since the launch of Food Growing Schools: London (FGSL) in 2013.

On Thursday 13 October 2016 during a unique FGSL Celebration Event, students showcased their school-grown produce at the sixth FGSL Schools Marketplace, run in partnership with Capital Growth, and took to the stage in the prestigious London’s Living Room.

The event was opened by Joanne McCartney AM, Deputy Mayor for London, and Deputy Mayor for Education and Childcare, for the Greater London Authority. It included the launch of the FGSL Interim Report (October 2016), showing the wide ranging benefits of food growing. There was also FGSL’s very own Junior Gardener’s Question Time, chaired by former Blue Peter Gardener Chris Collins – with food growing questions answered by children from schools across London.

When he attended the last Schools Marketplace at City Hall, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, 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.”

Students from schools in Croydon, Ealing, Greenwich, Haringey, Kensington and Chelsea, Lambeth, Lewisham, Richmond and Southwark took part, and won prizes as part of the *Schools Marketplace Competition.

Fred Wilcox, RHS Young Gardener of the Year, at the Food Growing Schools: London Schools Marketplace with City Hall staff. Trafalgar Infants School, Richmond. Jane Baker/Garden Organic
Fred Wilcox, RHS Young Gardener of the Year at the Schools Marketplace, selling produce from the Trafalgar Infant School stall (Richmond) to City Hall staff. Jane Baker/Garden Organic

*Schools Marketplace participants and competition prize winners:

  • Athelney Primary School, Lewisham
  • Charlton Park Academy, Greenwich
  • Dormers Wells High School, Ealing
  • Elmwood Primary School, Croydon
  • *Holy Trinity C of E Primary School, Lewisham: Winners – ‘Best Dressed Stall’
  • *Kelvin Grove Primary School, Lewisham: Winners – ‘People’s Choice’
  • Reay Primary School, Lambeth
  • *Rokesly Junior School, Haringey: Winners – ‘Most Enterprising Product’
  • Rotherhithe Primary School, Southwark
  • Trafalgar Infant School, Richmond

Mark Dale-Emberton, Principle at Charlton Park Academy, Greenwich said: “Working with Food Growing Schools: London has helped us re-evaluate and reenergise the staff and students. We have looked afresh at our curriculum and how we can use the food that we grow to improve our meals, health and general wellbeing.”

Since their launch in 2013, Food Growing Schools: London have seen an amazing 25 out of 33 London boroughs step up to promote food growing in schools. The Benefits of Food Growing are impressive and far reaching – showing a positive impact on children’s physical and mental health, environment and education, and the local community and economy. Nearly 80% of schools engaged with FGSL have reported improved behaviour or attainment in students as a result of food growing, and one in four schools now use food growing as a teaching tool linked to curriculum activities. The FGSL report, containing the outcomes of an independent project evaluation by University of the West England, celebrates the successes of this innovative London-wide partnership, led by Garden Organic. The project is supported by the Mayor of London and the Big Lottery Fund.

James Campbell, Chief Executive, Garden Organic said: “I am deeply proud of what we have achieved so far — *87% of London schools are now growing food and considerably more pupils, parents, community members and businesses are involved.”

Speakers at the celebration event included Chris Collins (former Blue Peter Gardener, Broadcaster and Head of Horticulture at Garden Organic), James Campbell (CEO Garden Organic), Judy Orme (Professor of Public Health and Sustainability) and Mat Jones (Associate Professor of Public Health, University of West England).

Chris Collins, Broadcaster and Head of Horticulture at Garden Organic said: “I’m lucky to be out and about meeting students all the time, and it’s been amazing to see the difference Food Growing Schools: London is having in our London schools. The food growing support, resources and expertise the partnership provides is fantastic. Every school should take advantage and get involved!”

Whether you are already growing food in your school, you wish to get started, or you represent an organisation who can help, Food Growing Schools: London is open to all to Get Involved.



Jane Baker – Communications Officer, Food Growing Schools: London
07474210703 (PT – Mon to Thurs only) /

Spokespeople – Chris Collins (Broadcaster and Head of Horticulture at Garden Organic) and James Campbell (CEO Garden Organic)

Food Growing Schools: London is an ambitious Lottery funded project, supported by the Mayor of London that aims to get every London school growing their own food. Garden Organic as the lead organisation is working together with partners, Capital Growth, the Soil Association’s Food For Life project, the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), School Food Matters and Trees for Cities. The Schools Marketplace, organised with FGSL partner Capital Growth, took place as part of Grow Your Own Business 2016. #GYOBusiness

FGSL Interim Project Report (October 2016)*
An independent project evaluation by University of the West England (Bristol), summarising the progress of the programme in its third year, assessing the impacts of FGSL for participants and wider stakeholders, focusing on schools and those supporting school food growing. To download the full report visit: Our Achievements

*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.








FGSL News December 2015

23 December 2015

We are recruiting! – Food Growing Schools: London – Project Manager

Location: London (Sustain Offices, Old Street)
Salary: £36,000
Hours: 35 Holiday Entitlement: 25 days

We are looking for an enthusiastic individual with experience and an excellent track record in project management and partnership working, bid writing and a good knowledge of relevant activity and stakeholders in London. The person will join our team to offer project management to deliver the main project objective of supporting all schools in London to become food growing schools.

Application Closing Date: Sunday, 10 January 2016
Interview Date: Tuesday, 19 January 2016

For more information and to apply visit the Garden Organic website: Vacancies

Friday 18 December 2015

London Councils show leadership on school food

  • 31 out of 33 London boroughs are doing more to improve the food available to their residents, workers and school pupils
  • More London councils than ever are serving sustainable fish; higher welfare meat, eggs and dairy; Fairtrade products; and organic and freshly prepared food in schools
  • Many are tackling food poverty by encouraging breastfeeding to ensure the best start in life for infants, and also paying the Living Wage to Council staff and contractors
  • Increased support is being shown for food growing in the community and in schools.

The results of an annual survey of food initiatives supported by London Councils were published today by campaigning network London Food Link. The ‘Good Food For London’ report [1], supported by the Mayor of London and partner food and farming organisations [2], is now in its fifth year, measuring progress and encouraging local councils to take action on good food.

Rosie Boycott, chair of the London Food Board [3], said: “It is heartening to see so many of London’s councils taking action on good food initiatives. Our local authorities are very much on the front line when it comes to improving the diets of Londoners and while they are doing a fantastic job, I hope that they will continue to find new and innovative ways to tackle obesity and promote healthy eating.”

Despite the improvements, London continues to have higher rates of obesity compared to the rest of England, in part reflecting the proliferation of unhealthy food offers on our high streets.  With new food ventures opening daily, many of which do not serve or promote healthy food and often located in poorer areas, people find themselves faced with an unhealthy food environment.

“Councils have great scope to influence the food served in their borough. While many are doing great work to improve school food, this is not the case the moment children step outside the school gates. We need more done to tackle the quality of high-street food”, explained Sofia Parente from London Food Link.  The ‘Healthier Catering Commitment’ is a first step to help local authorities improve food in high-street takeaways, but despite its importance the report found sign-up to the scheme had slowed this year.

The Good Food for London league table 2015 is topped by the London Boroughs of Greenwich, Islington and Tower Hamlets. In addition, four boroughs were recognised for having been consistently in the top five since results started to be compiled in a league table two years ago: Camden, Islington, Lewisham and Tower Hamlets. Eight boroughs were also celebrated for being ‘most improved’, demonstrating change is possible even in a short period of time: Barking & Dagenham, City of London, Croydon, Greenwich, Hackney, Newham, Wandsworth and Westminster.

Full report, Good Food for London 2015: View our online interactive Good Food for London league table 2015 and download the report

14 December 2015

Good Luck Tim!

British ESA Astronaut, Tim Peake, flies to the International Space Station tomorrowSamantha Cristoforetti, Andreas Mogensen, Timothy Peak, Thomas Pesquier.

Tomorrow at 11:02am, British European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Tim Peake will fly to the International Space Station (ISS) for his six-month Principia mission.

Tim is launching on a Soyuz spacecraft from Baikonur, Kazakhstan which was rolled out onto the launch pad yesterday – watch here. Tim and the crew are due to rendezvous with the ISS at 5:23pm before climbing on-board to their new home at 7pm.

You can watch Tim’s launch on a very special episode of Stargazing Live tomorrow at 10:30am on BBC One. There will then be a second evening Stargazing Live programme at 7pm on BBC Two showing Tim’s arrival on the ISS.

Tim is an inspirational role model for young people across the UK and is dedicated to encouraging children to engage with STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects. It is because of this, we partnered with the UK Space Agency several months ago to launch Rocket Science, an exciting project allowing schools to grow seeds that have been to space.

In September we sent 2kg of rocket seeds to the International Space Station and they will be stored there until March when they are due to come back to Earth with American astronaut Scott Kelly.

When the seeds return, we will send them to up to 10,000 schools to grow alongside seeds that haven’t been to space in a huge nationwide science experiment. Read more about the project and sign up to take part here. We will be accepting applications until March when the seeds return to Earth.

Tomorrow we will be exhibiting at the Science Museum in London and Edinburgh International Science Festival in Scotland along with a host of other organisations that are running educational projects to celebrate Tim’s mission. You can read more about these projects at the UK Space Agency’s brilliant Principia website here.

If you’re on Twitter, keep in touch with us and involved in the launch by using #RocketScience and #Principia.

You can also tweet Tim Peake himself using @astro_timpeake

Good Luck Tim!

RHS Campaign for School Gardening

11 December 2015

Young Photographers Awarded Prizes

RHSphotocomp_TheoHardingRolls_FGSL news 2015London students Theo and Indra were presented with their prizes for winning this year’s RHS Young Herb Photographer of the Year.

Over the last couple of weeks we visited this year’s winners of RHS Young Herb Photographer of the Year to present them with their prizes.

Winner of the 5 to 10 age category was Indra, 8 years old from 11th Newham West Scout Group in Stratford, London for his beautiful image of borage (Borago officinalis). The photograph, which was taken in the Peak District, was chosen by the judges for its exquisite detail, clarity and colour.

Winner of the 11 to 17 age category was Theo, 11 years old from Thomas’s Clapham School, London for his stunning photograph of rosemary (Rosmarinus). The photo showed a sprig of rosemary in the sun and rain and judges loved the dramatic contrast of the soft raindrops against the dark background.

Alana Tapsell from the RHS Campaign for School Gardening and Chris Moncrieff from Vitacress visited both Indra and Theo to present them with their prizes of an iPad Mini for themselves and £500 worth of horticultural materials for their school or group.

You can see the photos from the presentations and the winning photographs below.

Congratulations Indra and Theo!

To read more about the competition, click here.
To see the winners, runners up and finalists, click here.



Enterprise Food Garden Award winners

Nightingale Primary, Hackney - case study