Foodshare have joined forces with a number of Gardening and Education charities including the RHS, Garden Organic, Sustain and Michael Morpugo’s ‘Farms for City Children’, to raising awareness to the Government about the importance of Food Growing in Schools.
Why the Campaign?
Direct experience of food growing can have wide ranging benefits, including:
Practical food growing encourages children to connect with food, and to try new foods, particularly fruit and vegetables, with the produce grown being used for cooking and food preparation activities. Food growing provides outdoor physical activity, and has also been shown to have a positive effect on mental health, in particular helping develop confidence and self-esteem.
Practical experience of food growing teaches children about where their food comes from and how it is produced, and has links across the formal and informal curriculum. Environmental concerns can resonate more with young people than health messages; food growing engages pupils on the former while supporting the latter. The practical nature of food growing can connect children with the living environment, capturing the imagination of pupils who do not respond well to traditional classroom teaching and engaging those at risk of exclusion.
By its nature, the produce of school gardens is local and seasonal, the ultimate example of healthy and sustainable food. School gardens can promote biodiversity, teach sustainable waste management techniques such as composting, and support and inspire good habits both at school and at home.
Currently, some school have fantastic food growing projects, and their pupils reap these benefits. But many more miss out on this opportunity.
What we’d like to see:
We want every pupil to actively experience and learn skills in food growing during their school lives, in school gardens and on farms. Pupils should have the opportunity to prepare and eat the food they have produced.
For this to be achieved, we need:
• All new and refurbished schools to have dedicated space for pupils to grow food, and food preparation facilities to complete the loop “from soil to soup”.
• Investment to enable schools to set up food-growing gardens or farms where none yet exist, or develop their food growing potential.
• Adequate training and education in food production and wider use of the outdoor classroom for both new and existing school workforce, as part of initial teacher training and workforce Continuing Professional Development.
• The Ofsted Self-Evaluation Form to incorporate a question on how schools are providing pupils with direct experience of food growing and production.
Who Are We?
The campaign brings together many organisations which support food growing activities for children.
|The Academy of Culinary Arts Chefs Adopt a School Trust
Chefs Adopt a School is a food education programme developed to teach primary school children about food and cooking and the vital role that food and nutrition play in our lives. Through a series of practical hands-on sessions where children get to use their senses and practice their skills, it shows how to respect and appreciate food and where it comes from and that a healthy diet is key to eating our way to a healthy and happier future.
|Childrens Food Campaign
The Childrens Food Campaign wants to improve young peoples health and well-being through better food and food teaching in schools and by protecting children from junk food marketing. We are supported by over 300 organisations and 12,000 members of the public.
|Farming and Countryside Education
Farming and Countryside Education (FACE) helps young people learn about food and farming in a sustainable countryside. It is a charity that networks with organizations throughout the food and farming industry. FACE works with schools by developing resources and promoting educational visits to farms.
|Farms for City Children
Farms for City Children is a charity working to expand the horizons and enrich the lives of children from cities and towns all over the country through a whole week spent living and working together on one of the three real farms in the heart of the countryside.
|Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens
The FCFCG provides support and advice for community managed gardening and farming groups. The learning that comes from communal activity, skills development, understanding where our food comes from, and communal responsibility for the land, lead to healthier lives for individuals and their communities. We actively endorse the campaign and will continue to provide our specialist support to those wishing to join us in implementing the objectives.
|Food for Life Partnership
The Food for Life Partnership is a network of schools and communities across England committed to transforming food culture. Led by the Soil Association, the Food for Life Partnership brings together the practical expertise of the Focus on Food Campaign, Garden Organic and the Health Education Trust. They want to transform school and community food culture across England, by harnessing the ideas and initiative of young people and community leaders. They aim to reach out through schools to give communities access to seasonal, local and organic food, and to the skills they need to cook and grow fresh food for themselves.
Foodshares vision is for every pupil in the UK to learn the value and importance of growing and sharing, inspiring a nation of Food Philanthropists. Schools nationwide are setting up dedicated Foodshare Growing to Give beds for children to grow seasonal and fresh produce for local charities. In addition, the Harvest Heroes programme is a school-wide initiative where every pupil grows a plant from seed in the classroom and continues to nurture it at home with their families. Half of the harvest is donated to the schools nominated Foodshare charity, with the other half enjoyed by the family. As their class bid to become the schools Harvest Heroes, pupils also collect donations of surplus home-grown produce from family, friends and neighbours, helping to reduce food waste, the charitys food miles and their spiralling grocery bills.
Garden Organic is the UK’s leading organic growing charity. It has been at the forefront of the organic horticulture movement for 50 years and is dedicated to researching and promoting organic gardening, farming and food. The charity has been working in schools for over 10 years to encourage young people to grow their own food and to give teachers support and confidence to pass on valuable lessons about food growing and where food comes from.
|Good Gardeners Association
The Good Gardeners Association has been developing and delivering their “Sowing the Seed” Project for several years. This is a growing project which encourages children of all ages and abilities to consider the importance of the soil in the production of healthy food. At the heart of the project is a growing experiment which explores the differences between conventional digging and the no dig compost method and which uses art, science, numeracy, literacy and more to explore the relationships between the soil, our food, and our own health.
|Organic Research Centre
The Organic Research Centre at Elm Farm, since 1980 has researched, developed and promoted sustainable methods of food production for farmers and growers. The Education Department also works with schools, colleges and the wider community to encourage an interest in food, in how it is produced and how the production methods affect food quality.
|The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS)
The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), the UKs leading gardening charity, launched the RHS Campaign for School Gardening in September 2007 with a call to action to all UK primary schools to get growing. The Campaign is currently supporting eleven thousand schools across the UK to place gardening at the heart of their teaching and learning and to support health and well being initiatives. Schools registering can access the Campaign website with extensive online resources and a benchmarking scheme with rewards and recognition for schools progressing in their gardening. A national programme of Continuing Professional Development workshops is available for teachers. Campaign Regional Advisors currently deliver horticultural expertise on the ground in three Regions; Yorkshire and The Humber, East of England and London. An Advisor will be appointed in the North West region by Summer 2010.
|School Food Matters
School Food Matters core goal is for every child to enjoy fresh sustainable food at school and to understand where their food comes from. We do this by urging local authorities to look at the way they source food for school meals and by promoting food education through cooking, growing and farm visits.
The campaign is coordinated by the Childrens Food Campaign.