London school food-growing project earns lottery cash

Some £804,994 have been awarded by the Big Lottery Fund to the Garden Organic-led Food Growing Schools: London project, which will seek to help every school in London to become a food-growing school.

Garden Organic is working with Capital Growth, the Food For Life Partnership, Greater London Authority, Morrisons Let's Grow programme and the RHS Campaign for School Gardening to deliver food growing into all London schools over the next three years.

Actions for the project include showcasing best practice and the benefits of food growing to schools, developing a volunteer network and helping schools to hook up with supporting companies and groups. There will also be training opportunities for school staff and volunteers, support to find funding for food-growing equipment and a new website to match schools and supporting organisations.

The RHS already works with more than 1,300 of London's 2,750 schools through its Campaign for School Gardening.

The 2011-12 Defra-backed Food Growing in Schools Task Force explored the importance of giving pupils the opportunity to grow food at school, leading to the London project, which could roll-out nationwide.

Garden Organic education head Colette Bond said "We are open to discussing the project with anyone - we are not restricted to only organic companies, suppliers or organisations - but who we work with will be determined by our ethical guidelines and criteria. If organisations feel they may be able to support in someway, we would welcome any inquiries about this."

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