The report, "Every school a food growing school" makes the case that teaching children how to grow food should be a vital tool in nudging children toward a healthier diet and thus reducing childhood obesity. It goes on to explain how this initiative could help the new government to achieve key objectives such as raising educational standards and building a Big Society.
Case studies included in the report also demonstrate how produce can be sold by pupils, teaching enterprise skills and generating revenue for educational activities. For example, at Orford Primary School in Suffolk pupils sell salad to a local pub, with sales generating £200 in profits so far. The report estimates that schools could collectively generate £4.5million from food growing activities.
Jackie Schneider of the Children’s Food Campaign, which has coordinated the coalition, said:
"The drive to save money and make better use of our resources means that there has never been a better time to introduce food growing in all schools. This should be a priority for the new coalition government. No school is complete without a food-growing space! We plan to talk to the relevant government departments about how we can make this a reality."
The report has drawn support from a range of influential figures, including Titchmarsh, Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith and Rosie Boycott, advisor to London Mayor Boris Johnson and chair of the London Food Board.
Titchmarsh said: "Connecting children with the earth is vital for their own wellbeing and that of the planet. Not only should they know what they are eating, they should also understand how it grows. That way they are assured of a healthy future. It’s fun, too."
The report was complied by the Academy of Culinary Arts Chefs Adopt a School Trust, Children’s Food Campaign, Farming and Countryside Education, Farms for City Children, Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens, Food for Life Partnership, Foodshare, Garden Organic, Good Gardeners Association, Organic Research Centre, Royal Horticultural Society and School Food Matters.