Schools food growing scheme seeks funding

The 'Food Growing Schools: London' (FGSL) programme is seeking more funding as its £800,000 Big Lottery grant funding for 2013-early 2017 comes to an end.

Last week, at London's City Hall, the FGSL partnership of Garden Organic, Capital Growth (a Sustain initiative), Food for Life (a Soil Association programme), RHS, School Food Matters and Trees for Cities held a FGSL Celebration Event. The Mayor of London has provided additional funds.

The partnership have now launched an evaluation of the scheme, lead written by the University of the West of England, which has found  London schools growing their own food have increased from 72 per cent to 87 per cent in the three years of the project

The report found 76.2 per cent of schools reported pupils had enhanced knowledge and skills, 79.2 per cent of schools reported improved behaviour or attainment and 61.7 per cent said students were more aware of nature, healthy eating, and sustainability.

Some 1,000 people have received FGSL training to date. FSGL has worked in 25 of the 33 London boroughs. 

The total number of schools in London in January 2016 was 3,132. FGSL supports 1,370 schools (based on FGSL survey responses). In July 2016, FGSL recorded 54,168 pupils in London growing food as part of its Growathon challenge, based on schools and partners who responded. 

In 2013, 13.5 per cent of pupils were reported to be involved in food growing activities. For 2016 data to date, that number has risen to 24 per cent, which is calculated by dividing: Total number of pupils reported to be involved in food growing in all schools/total number of pupils on the rolls of all schools. 

The scheme follows recommendations from the 2011-12 Defra-backed Food Growing in Schools Taskforce.

Meanwhile, the South London Botanical Institute (SLBI), based in Tulse Hill, has just been awarded £76,500 for a new project, ‘Botany on Your Plate.’ The project will provide a range of activities introducing both children and adults to the science behind food plants. The project will start this autumn and take place over the next three years.

‘Botany on Your Plate’ will help people to engage with the plants and natural world around them, through discovering food plants. The project will encourage children and adults to grow food and to understand the local and global environments affecting what they eat. 

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