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Jamie Oliver and Prince Charles recognise secondary school food growing

By Matthew Appleby Wednesday, 21 November 2012

School children in Surrey will receive a visit from HRH The Prince of Wales and Jamie Oliver on November 26 in recognition of their food growing achievements.

The Prince of Wales and Jamie Oliver will celebrate the achievements of Carshalton Boys Sports College in Sutton, London, in transforming their school food culture.

The school has been supported by the Food for Life Partnership, launched in 2007, which offers schools across England expert support from the Soil Association, Garden Organic, Focus on Food and the Health Education Trust.

More than 4,400 schools have already joined this national network – supported by The Prince of Wales - to get involved in cooking and growing activities, visiting farms and serving healthy school meals.

Carshalton Boys has been helped to get pupils growing their own food by one-to-one support from a garden education officer and additional resources from Garden Organic. Every boy at the school can grow and eat their own produce and parents have been given free window boxes to grow at home.

Only 20 per cent of the children chose to eat school meals at Carshalton eight years ago – now it is 90 per cent.

Garden Organic chief executive Myles Bremner said: "Carshalton offers great inspiration for any school out there that feels encouraging its pupils to eat healthy food is an impossible challenge. This school has really proved that with strong leadership and a huge team effort on the part of pupils, staff, the community and charities like ourselves, we can offer our children healthy school dinners that they will be queuing up to be first in line for."

Carshalton head teacher Simon Barber has 16 raised beds at his school: "I just think it is amazing that this tiny scrap of land has had such a massive impact on the school – it has helped to change the whole approach to food here. We have worked hard, but there is just this relentless enthusiasm," he added. "The boys are really interested in eating well now."

See www.gardenorganic.org.uk/schools

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