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 , supported by the Mayor of London and partner food and farming organisations , 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 , 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.
British ESA Astronaut, Tim Peake, flies to the International Space Station tomorrow
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.
London 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.
2000 more children learn about growing and eating healthy food
2000 children from four schools will have the opportunity to get growing thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery. The charity Trees for Cities will create an Edible Playground at The Palmer Primary Academy in Reading and Baguley Hall Primary School in Manchester whilst Meridian High School and Fairchildes Primary School in Croydon will share an Edible Playground.
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, Birmingham, Leeds and Reading.
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, Edible Playgrounds 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.
The edible playgrounds will be designed specifically for each school, but elements include 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.
The pupils will enjoy hands-on cooking lessons from Chefs Adopt a School and have access to food education programmes outside the school gate via charity School Food Matter’s Membership for Schools. School Food Matters will also support the schools to achieve their first Food for Life Award.
Sharon Johnson, Chief Executive of Trees for Cities said: “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 25 edible playgrounds supporting over 10,000 pupils across the UK. With 37 per cent of children between ages of 5 – 12 not eating enough every day and 20 per cent obese on leaving primary school, more and more schools are now educating their children on how food is grown and on making healthy eating choices.”
Martin Giles, Head teacher of Meridian High School said “Our School is a family. That means, above all else, we help each other to learn, grow and improve now and always. Just like our planned Edible Playground!”
Ros Sandell, Executive Head of Fairchildes Primary School said: “The Edible Playground Project provides a great opportunity for a new initiative covering healthy eating, community engagement and partnership working with Meridian High School. We have worked together previously in various capacities, but this would be a new direction for us and the benefits would be enormous for us both.”
Meridian High School and Fairchildes Primary School are two of Croydon’s Food Flagship Schools, supported by the Mayor of London. The schools are leading the way in inspiring and encouraging the communities of Croydon to grow and eat healthier food.
Meridian High School and Fairchildes Primary School
Fairchildes is an outstanding primary school keen to give its pupils more opportunities to learn how to grow food. They are joining forces with Meridian High School, their next door neighbour, to create a shared Edible Playground. Both schools are Croydon Food Flagship Schools, as part of the Croydon Food Flagship Borough Programme, and are keen to use their Edible Playground to give their pupils the opportunity to learn how to grow food, understand more about healthy eating and to provide the local community with a resource to share and be proud of. www.croydon.gov.uk/food-flagship-borough
9 July 2015
Schools receive surprise Mayor of London visit at the School’s Marketplace, City Hall
The School’s Marketplace at City Hall, on Thursday 9th July, was a huge success, with 10 London schools battling their way through the London tube strike to arrive laden with produce to sell to the public. The standard of fresh produce and home-made products (such as preserves, cordials, edible plants etc) was extremely high. The students, from infants right through to secondary school, took the lead as professional sales people, confidently answering customer’s questions about the goodies they had on offer.
During the School’s Marketplace the school’s had a surprise visit from the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson who visited every one of their stalls and went home with armfuls of school-grown produce. As you can imagine, the students (and teachers!), were very excited to welcome this special guest.
Grow Your Own School Garden Competition – Announcing the Winners!
At the School’s Marketplace The Mayor of London also took part in giving out the prizes at our ‘Grow your Own School Garden Competition’ Award Ceremony, with our generous competition sponsors. A huge thank you to The Organic Gardening Catalogue, Haxnicks and VegTrug for donating the competition prizes, and to BBC TV Gardener, Chris Collins, for being our competition judge.
Congratulations to the following three schools who received their awards to huge applause, and look forward to setting up their own school gardens:
1st Prize – Richard Challoner School (Kingston) 2nd Prize – Our Lady of Grace Catholic Infant School (Brent) 3rd Prize – Richmond Park Academy (Richmond)
For more information about the School’s Marketplace and ‘Grow Your Own School Garden Competition Award Ceremony See related press release below:
6 July 2015
City Hall hosts School’s Marketplace for a second year
The Mayor of London’s Food Programme team are opening the doors of the prestigious City Hall to welcome 10 London schools to hold their very own Schools Marketplace. Taking place on Thursday 9th July 2015 from 12noon to 3pm, the event will be a mouth-watering showcase for delicious food grown in London’s schools. Sample tasty produce and fill your shopping bags with edible school-grown treats – from jams and chutneys, to salads, herbs, cordials, dips and more. The Schools Marketplace, is the grand finale of Grow Your Own Picnic 2015, a term-long celebration of food growing in London schools: www.foodgrowingschools.org/events/picnic
The Schools Marketplace is organised by the Food Growing Schools: London partnership, led by Garden Organic, and Capital Growth. In 2014 schools sold produce to the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, and Ireland’s Prime Minister Enda Kenny!
The Mayor has formed a range of partnerships that are helping to transform London’s food environment. These include the Healthy Schools London awards programme, which incentivises the capital’s schools to adopt a whole-school approach to improving health by creating an environment which encourages growing and eating fresh, nutritious food. In addition the London Food programme has established two Food Flagship boroughs: Croydon and Lambeth, to demonstrate the impact on health and attainment achievable through improving food across the whole environment, using schools as a catalyst to drive this change.
Rosie Boycott, Chair of London Food, said: “It’s fantastic to see the enthusiasm among teachers, children and parents around growing and eating fresh, healthy food in schools.
“Involving school children in growing food helps to foster a love of good, healthy and nutritious produce, which is why the Mayor is supporting this initiative.”
As well as produce stalls, an award ceremony for the exciting new Grow Your Own School Garden Competition will take place at 1.30pm. Judged by BBC TV Gardener Chris Collins, the competition is aimed at London schools that aren’t yet growing food. Eligible schools were tasked with setting up a school gardening group, planning a new school growing space, identifying community support and making a gardening equipment wishlist. The three London schools that have been shortlisted to win are: Our Lady of Grace Catholic Infant School (Brent); Richard Challoner School (Kingston) and Richmond Park Academy (Richmond).
The winners will receive fantastic prizes to start their own school garden, including £500 worth of garden vouchers from The Organic Gardening Catalogue and half a day with a garden expert. Second and Third prize have been kindly donated by Haxnicks and VegTrug. “Inspiring young people to grow their own healthy food, and to develop their knowledge of growing and the skills involved, is at the core of what we believe in at The Organic Gardening Catalogue. We’re delighted to be able to support the Grow Your Own School Garden competition and hope that it will encourage more youngsters to get growing, they are after all, the next generation of farmers and growers!”- Michael Hedges, Managing Director, Chase Organics and The Organic Gardening Catalogue. www.foodgrowingschools.org/resources/competitions
The next Food Growing Schools: London schools project is Grow Your Own Business 2015, which will launch for a second year in September 2015. To download a free 30-page schools activity pack and join in, visit: www.foodgrowingschools.org/events
Schools Marketplace – Thursday 9 July 2015, 12 – 3pm. City Hall, The Queen’s Walk London SE1 2AA
See main body of press release for: Chris Collins (BBC TV Gardener) and Michael Hedges, Managing Director, Chase Organics and The Organic Gardening Catalogue.
‘Haxnicks are passionate about gardening and have a history of designing great new products to help everyone else who loves to grow. We are very excited to be supporting a project that is sowing the seeds for a new generation of grow-your-own enthusiasts, particularly in spaces and places where it might not otherwise be happening. We wish the schools good luck with their growing and happy harvesting too!’ Damian Cardozo, Haxnicks Founder
‘We are delighted to support the Food Growing Schools Project. It is essential for our future that our children get a hands on chance to grow food and plants in general. We work tirelessly around the world promoting grow your own and healthy eating and the London Schools Project is something we want to encourage as much as we can. Well done to everyone involved.’ Joe Denham, CEO for VegTrug Limited.
Led by Garden Organic, the Food Growing Schools: London (FGSL) partnership brings together the very best of London’s food growing expertise, information and support, with the ambition to inspire and equip every school in London to grow their own food. Garden Organic is working in partnership with Capital Growth, Food For Life Partnership, Morrisons Let’s Grow, Royal Horticultural Society, School Food Matters and Trees for Cities. Funded by The Mayor of London and the Big Lottery Fund, the project aims to cultivate young people’s love for learning, and hunger for knowledge, and develop supportive local communities through food. www.foodgrowingschools.org
Food Flagship Boroughs – Croydon and Lambeth
The Greater London Authority (GLA) is happy to be supporting Food Growing Schools: London (FGSL) to deliver a series of food growing training workshops in Croydon and Lambeth schools, and one to one support to 15 schools in Croydon that are not already food growing.
Garden Organic is the UK’s leading organic growing charity, dedicated to researching and promoting organic gardening, farming and food. We have been bringing the benefits of gardening to schools, big and small, for over 20 years, helping students and communities access the benefits of growing food and engage in hands on, practical activity. We do this through our training, project work, volunteer programmes and inspiring demonstration gardens at Ryton, near Coventry. As a partner in the Food for Life Partnership our education programmes, training and resources help teachers and school professionals to embed food growing as part of a whole school approach. www.gardenorganic.org.uk
Capital Growth, supported by the Mayor of London, runs a network for community food growing projects in London, providing advice, events, training and other support. They currently have over 700 schools in the network, many of whom have received funding, competition awards and other types of support and advice. As part of the charity Sustain, Capital Growth also runs annual events such as Edible Open Gardens Day, urban Food Fortnight and the Big Dig which all members are encouraged to get involved in to raise the profile of their project. www.capitalgrowth.org/themes/schools
6 Jul 2015
School Food Plan Publishes New Guidance to Support Ofsted Changes
The School Food Plan has produced practical guidance to help school leaders and governing bodies adopt a whole school approach to food and create a culture and ethos of healthy eating. It is designed to be used alongside other School Food Plan resources including the Headteacher Checklist and What Works Well website.
Ofsted, which we consulted in developing the guidance, will be making this document available to inspectors in their training. Download on our Resources page.
01 July 2015
Houston we have a problem…
…but we are fixing it!
In case you didn’t watch the launch or haven’t seen the news, we are sad to announce that on Sunday afternoon the SpaceX-7 rocket exploded, along with our seeds and other precious cargo, shortly after take-off. The rocket was unmanned and broke up in the air so no one was harmed.
We always knew that there was a chance that whatever vehicle the seeds flew on it might experience a problem, as this is the nature of space flight. This is one of the reasons why we decided to send the seeds up many months before Tim Peake himself arrives at the International Space Station later this year. It also means that these seeds will be highly prized when they finally make their epic journey!
We have already procured more rocket seeds from the same British seed company Tozer Seeds, and are working with the UK Space Agency and European Space Agency to get these seeds on one of the next available cargo launches.
The rest of the project will continue on the same timeline so we will still open up official registrations in September and seeds and resource packs will be sent in spring 2016. Schools should continue to register their interest in the project and be the first to apply for seeds here.
We will keep you updated with progress as we continue. Please keep an eye on our website and follow @RHSSchools on Twitter for more information.
In the meantime, you can watch the rocket’s failed launch on YouTube here and for more detailed information on SpaceX-7 and the failed launch, please read the UK Space Agency blog here.