A new initiative is aiming to get every London school growing its own food by the end of 2016.
Launched last week, Food Growing Schools: London is offering schools expertise in gardening and growing food as well as resources and lesson ideas.
It is being run by charity Garden Organic with support from the Mayor of London’s Office and the Big Lottery Fund.
London schools and volunteers will have access to a Food Growing Schools online hub, offering free food growing advice, case studies and learning resources such as lesson plans, curriculum links and activity sheets.
There will also be training opportunities and each term schools will be supported to grow their own food culminating in a termly “Grow Your Own” celebration event. The first campaign under the initiative will be “Grow Your Own Picnic”.
It comes just a week after the government launched new food standards for all schools. They stipulate that schools must serve one or more portions of vegetables or salad as an accompaniment every day and have at least three different fruits and three different vegetables every week.
In launching the campaign, Garden Organic emphasised the growing problem of obesity in the capital. Statistics show that 11 per cent of children in reception class in London are obese, rising to 22.5 per cent of year 6 pupils.
Rosie Boycott, food advisor for the Mayor of London’s Office and chair of the London Food Board, 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.”
The initiative is also being supported by organisations including Morrison’s, the Food For Life Partnership, School Food Matters, and the Royal Horticultural Society.
An official launch took place last week at Phoenix High Farm and Learning Zone in Hammersmith.
London schools can sign up for food growing support for free at www.foodgrowingschools.org
You can download the new school food standards at www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-food and for more information on the government’s School Food Plan, go to www.schoolfoodplan.com CAPTION: Going green: Rosie Boycott, food advisor to the Mayor of London’s Office, is among those supporting the Food Growing Schools project in the capital