City Hall hosts School’s Marketplace for a second year

The Mayor of London’s Food Programme team opened the doors of the prestigious City Hall to welcome ten London schools to hold their very own Schools Marketplace on Thursday 9th July 2015. The event was a mouth-watering showcase for delicious food grown in London’s schools from jams and chutneys, to salads, herbs, cordials, dips and more. The Schools Marketplace, was the grand finale of Grow Your Own Picnic 2015, a term-long celebration of food growing in London schools.

The Schools Marketplace is organised by the Food Growing Schools: London partnership, led by Garden Organic, and Capital Growth. The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, 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 took place at 1.30pm. Judged by BBC TV Gardener Chris Collins, the competition was 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 award was won by Richard Challoner School (Kingston), in second place was Our Lady of Grace Catholic Infant School (Brent) and Richmond Park Academy (Richmond) took the third spot.

Richard Challoner School received 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 were 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.

The next Food Growing Schools: London schools project is Grow Your Own Business 2015, which will launch for a second year in September 2015. You can download a free 30-page schools activity pack and join in here.

Monday, 13 July 2015