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.


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.

Summer School Marketplace 2016

26 April 2016

Join us to sell your school garden goodies at City Hall

Capital Growth in partnership with Food Growing Schools: London are offering 15 schools a chance to trade their school-grown and made produce at City Hall on Thursday 14 July .

If you are growing food from your school garden this spring then you can apply to take part in our Schools Marketplace and take some of your pupils to sell your produce at City Hall.

This year all schools taking part also have a chance to enter our ‘Showcase your Growing’ competition. This is a chance to show us how you have grown and nurtured your school garden to prepare for the Marketplace with pictures, recipes and stories. More details will be sent to participating schools.

You can see pictures of the previous Marketplace on Flickr.

How do I register for the Schools Marketplace?

To register for our School Marketplace please download and complete the short application form below.

Download the application for the School Marketplace

Once your application is completed, please email it to 

To register for the School Marketplace you will need to be a Capital Growth member. Membership is free, just complete our short online application here. You will also need to fill in Food Growing Schools: London’s survey.

Showcase your growing: the Marketplace competition

26 April 2016

This year all Marketplace schools can apply to enter the ‘Showcase your Growing’ competition. This competition will be a chance to show us how you have grown and nurtured your school garden to prepare for the marketplace with pictures, recipes and stories!
The entries will be judged on the day of the Marketplace and the winning school will be awarded a great prize including a great set of Bulldog Tools, a certificate and much more.

You will need to create and bring at the Marketplace one A2 sheet displaying the following:

  • Your school name and logo
  • Pictures of your plots and pupils caring for the plants
  • Pictures of pupils and / or school staff harvesting and weighing your produce
  • Pictures of pupils and school staff baking and making produce out of your garden fruits and veg
  • A mix of any of the following: recipes, growing tips and stories about your school garden

The Marketplace is an event organise by Capital Growth in partnership with Food Growing Schools: London. It is part of FGSL wider initiative the Growathon.


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.