Food Growing Schools: London launch success

Food Growing Schools: London launched on Friday 20th June 2014 bringing together the very best of London’s food growing expertise, with the ambition to inspire every school in London to grow their own food by the end of 2016.

Led by Garden Organic, Food Growing Schools: London aims to bring together local communities and schools, connecting them with volunteers, businesses and local authorities across London to enthuse and equip every school in London to grow their own food. We are joined by other school food growing experts: Capital Growth, Food For Life Partnership, Morrisons (Let’s Grow), Royal Horticultural Society and School Food Matters.

The launch of Food Growing Schools at Phoenix High Farm and Learning Zone in Hammersmith began with a welcome address from Rosie Boycott - Mayor of London’s Food Advisor and Chair of the London Food Board.

Rosie Boycott said: "The Mayor and I want to see every school in London growing food. We’ve made huge progress with many pupils in the capital now reaping the rewards of outdoor learning. This new initiative will help us go further, reaching more schools and helping existing growers expand."

In London, high rates of childhood obesity (11% in Reception, rising to 22.5% in school Year 6 ) and income deprivation are having an significant impact on school children’s health, behaviour, self-esteem, concentration and ability to participate in school life, impacting on later life and wider society. In 2012 the Food Growing in Schools Taskforce identified that food growing not only benefits health and well being and improves schools, but builds enterprise, employment and life skills for adulthood, and strengthens local communities.

Chris Ashley-Jones, Headteacher of Hitherfield Primary School in Lambeth, said: "We are a community school and we wholeheartedly believe we are here to serve our community. Developing and using children’s life skills in the community and with local businesses is integral to creating successful citizens."

The launch of Food Growing Schools at Phoenix High Farm and Learning Zone in Hammersmith brought together local authorities, educational institutions, stakeholders and public health leaders to support the project in their boroughs. They were joined by Ben Tish, Founder and Head Chef of Saltyard Restaurant Group and Master Chef winner Thomasina Miers.

Thomasina Miers said: "I'm a strong believer in getting more people into food and cooking. Teaching young people to grow and love food is the beginning of a better future for London - creating employment, a better community spirit, radically improved health and a more sustainable future for us all."

Taking place on 'Grow Your Own Picnic Day', schools feasted on their own growing success with food harvested from their own school gardens, classroom windowsills and community gardens.

You can find our more about Food Growning Schools: London and how your school can get involved here

Monday, 30 June 2014