Heads share what schools do with their fruit & veg

Survey of Trees for Cities Edible Playground schools

Winter is the perfect time to ensure your beds are ready for the sunnier days ahead. And it’s a fun opportunity to plan the lessons you’ll teach outside and the produce you want to grow this season.

For some inspiration on what to do with all the produce once it’s grown, a recent Trees for Cities survey of Edible Playground schools offers some inspiration.

The survey found that produce is being used in a huge variety of ways; sold to parents and others at school events, garden markets or direct to restaurants, put straight into school meals as ingredients for cooking club, or eaten straight out of the beds during lessons, gardening club or playtime – a fantastic way for the children to reap the rewards of their hard work.

What could be better than that?

To discover more about Edible Playgrounds, click here.

 

From Seed to Market – Chris Collins and the Young Marketeers Harvest Sale

“There is nothing like the sound of children taking over a market place!” – Chris Collins.

The Young Marketeers Harvest & Apple Sale is coming up on 5 October at Borough Market. Chris Collins who works with School Food Matters to deliver the project and is best known as a former TV Blue Peter gardener, writes to tell us what this school food growing project is all about:

Young Marketeers is an exciting project that has been running for 6 years with support from various organisations including School Food Matters, United St Saviour’s Charity, FareShare and Garden Organic.

The project focus is on advising schools on food growing and providing workshops to teach primary school children to grow veg from seed with an emphasis on seed to plate, encouraging healthy eating by getting children to grow food. It has, in my opinion, been a resounding success.

Young Marketeers takes things a step beyond growing food and with the help of the famous Borough Market, we introduced an entrepreneurial element, where the food the children grow is taken to market and sold to customers.

There is nothing like the sound of children taking over a market place! They are incredible sales people and they do have the advantage of fresh produce to sell – fresh produce they have personally grown.

There are a real mix of children involved with the project because the schools included are primary, secondary and special needs.

The journey starts with workshops in early spring. That’s where I start getting involved. I undertake these workshops at Borough Market itself and can have 25 schools in two sittings – it’s a giant seed sowing party.

We do two lots of crops; one for a summer sale and one for the autumn sale. I teach them seed sowing in trays, pricking out, sowing in drills and how to look after your plants. This advice can be accompanied by school visits I do from time to time but it’s up to the school and the pupils to grow and present produce for sale at the market when the time comes. The children are also given a tour around the market to get tips on sales techniques and how to set up a stall.

What an effort is made when market day comes – the stalls themselves are always presented in fantastic fashion, with children’s artwork and displays really making the produce stand out. The star of the show though has to be the produce the kids have grown. It’s incredibly rewarding for me to see how closely they have listened and, as always their amazing enthusiasm. You can never tire of gardening with children and this project highlights just how much they get it of it.

I will be at the Autumn Sale on 5 October, representing Garden Organic, School Food Matters and Food Growing Schools: London. We always have some esteemed company as the mayor of Southwark attends and usually the local MP, which in itself attracts the media, creating yet another experience for our young growers.

My work doesn’t end there though as I have the impossible task of picking the winning stall…wish me luck, I’m going to need it!”

Christopher M Collins,
Head of Organic Horticulture
Garden Organic

Are you looking to get your school involved in food growing and enterprise activities? Find free resources on our website to get you started, like our Grow Your Own Business activity pack!

Up Next: Young Marketeers Harvest & Apple Sale

Eleven schools from Southwark and beyond will head to Borough Market laden with Autumn produce on October 5 for the Young Marketeers Harvest Sale.

Brand new for this year is an Apple Sale which will see students learn all about planting, harvesting and storing heritage variety apples to help tackle the issues around surplus autumn fruit.

Head on down to the Market Hall between 11.30 – 1.30pm to show your support and help raise money for FareShare, an organisation fighting hunger and tackling food waste.

For more information please visit the School Food Matters website.

London schools get enterprising with School Food Matters

School Food Matters Market Day in Stoke Newington, with with Hoxton Garden Primary.
School Food Matters Market Day in Stoke Newington, with Hoxton Garden Primary.

School Food Matters are one of six fantastic Food Growing Schools: London partners founded in 2007 by parent Stephanie Wood. Over the past 10 years they have made their name as experts in school food enterprise projects, working with thousands of pupils in schools across London.

Enterprising school food projects

In March and April 2017, Know your Onions, School Food Matters’ new secondary school project progresses with 15 gardening sessions delivered by our partners, Garden Organic. These sessions will inspire students to get involved in food growing, think about where their food comes from and learn useful skills.  In April, these schools visit a local market garden where they can see professional food growing at scale, within the boundaries of London. These visits help the students to contextualise their food growing in the wider environment and think about the effects of global food production on the environment. Know your Onions is kindly supported for 3 years by the City of London Corporation’s charity, City Bridge Trust. Read more about the progress of the programme, including students learning to cook their produce, and sell it at their local street market: Know Your Onions.

The Schools to Market programme, led by School Food Matters in partnership with Whole Kids Foundation, is now entering its fifth year and kicks off in March 2017 with an assembly at 20 participating schools. This year five Whole Foods Market stores are taking part: Richmond, Fulham Broadway, High Street Kensington, Cheltenham and Giffnock. The assembly not only launches the programme but also looks at the purpose of it; to take children on a journey from seed to supermarket, to teach them about fresh, healthy food and to improve their nutrition and wellbeing. This way the whole school can benefit from the assembly and not just those children chosen to participate in Schools to Market. Keep up to date with what’s happening when at: Schools to Market.

Other enterprising School Food Matters projects include: Young Marketeers at Borough Market and Fresh Enterprise: School Food Matters Enterprise Projects

For ideas on how to start an enterprise food project in your school visit the Food Growing Schools: London website: Grow Your Own Business