Get the next generation growing

Posted on: 1 Nov 2009 by: Laura Fitzpatrick

New research shows that about half of the UK population feel they have lost the practical skills of their grandparents’ generation with 45% admitting they have fewer cooking skills and 47% say they are less able to grow their own food.

Eco kids composting

Eco kids composting

The Food for Life Partnership works with more than 1,300 schools across England to ensure the next generation will be better equipped for the future than their parents by getting them growing and cooking in school.

Through the extensive Food for Life Partnership award scheme, schools get the guidance to transform their food culture and engage pupils, parents and the local community along the way. From Bronze, through Silver to Gold, schools set up organic gardens, cooking clubs and pupils visit farms and eat healthy, climate-friendly school dinners.

Late last month, the Food for Life Partnership launched the Food Growing Manual, which is a comprehensive growing resource, produced by one of the Partners, Garden Organic, for all schools enrolling on the Food for Life Partnership. The Food Growing Manual will enable schools to successfully develop their own gardens and produce edible crops for children, parents, teachers and communities to enjoy.

Food for Life Partnership manager at Garden Organic, Colette Bond, says:

“Teaching children to grow food puts them in touch with the land, familiarises them with the seasons and encourages healthier eating. On a wider level it also engages them with the food supply and helps them understand that food isn’t instant or ‘fast’ but that it takes time, energy and nurture to produce something edible.”

“Using the expert content of the manual, as well as the suggested activities and planting advice, we hope to develop a successful school garden, which will help the children to learn about growing their own food and eating seasonally. We also hope to use the garden to teach the curriculum and to reach out and involve everyone from staff and pupils right through to parents and the community.

The Food for Life Partnership aims to reconnect young people with growing, cooking, eating and appreciating climate-friendly, healthy and real food. Many schools in the Partnership are now using produce they have grown in their canteens, helping to make fresh, seasonal, organic produce a regular appearance on school dinner menus.

From now on, all schools signed up to the Food for Life Partnership will receive their own Food Growing Manual resource pack for free. To find out more or to enrol visit www.foodforlife.org.uk

About Laura Fitzpatrick

Laura heads up our editorial team here at Hello Eco Living. She's the youngest member of her WI, loves the great outdoors and new adventures!

4 Comment(s) on Get the next generation growing

  1. chrisg

    Hi Laura,

    I’d love to get my kids involved in something like this. It’s rewarding, a family activity, healthy and would save me a penny or two in the weekly shop. Unfortunately, my daughters school does not take part. Until the forum is up and running, I was wondering if anyone had any tips or advice on starting my own veg patch, time of year which is best to grow etc. Any advice appreciated. Chris.

  2. Laura Fitzpatrick

    Hi Chris,
    Lovely to see you on eco living. Ah, tips and advice on veg patch – I’m not the lead gardener in my household but I did manage to grow some spring onions this year, and we successfully grew onions, leeks and peas too! I guess it helps to know how much space you have for your patch and how ‘wild’ you want to be with the veg you’re growing… :0)

  3. shaman steve

    Life is a Garden Dig It! Compost Happens! This is brilliant. If we teach kids these values we can achieve social change and transformation much quicker. Even if we as adults tolerate a certain amount of corruption, and accept the world as it is, we still have the duty and obligation to create a better world for our children. After all children learn what they live, and if we show them a different way, they will make the world different. The Iroquois confederacy had a law to consider the effects of the actions on 7 generations and grandmothers made the decision to go to war. What would our world look like if we adopted that law today?

    Look at how the pace of social change and innovation has quickened after the invention of the printing press in the middle ages… once people could read they began to challenge the church and the monarchs and we see democratic revolutions… fast forward to the 21st century when culture changes in a milisecond at the speed of light in fiber optic and satellite transmissions.
    Stories like this are so inspiring. Although it can seem as if time itself is speeding up and world is spinning out of control, I am continually amazed at the all good i see happening as well. Most people are actually good at heart, and even those folks who you think may seem like greedy bourgeois mindless suburban consumers- have kids too and they want them t be able to breathe air, and they are concerned about many of the same issues as you. Don’t believe fear mongering media conglomerates that tell you the sky is falling. Most people are actually good and just need some knowledge, inspiration, guidance, empowerment, and sense of community to flourish. Its so great to see things like community gardens for kids literally sprouting up all over the world.

    Chris G- don’t be intimated or overwhelmed by the prospect of starting a garden- while there is much subtle art, science, knowledge and practical experience to learn about gardening- nature does most of the work. While we can help organically enriching the soil, and providing favorable contditions for growth, the sun, seed, soil, and rain are really the ones doing most of the work. Start small maybe even a container garden and learn as you go- evolving organically like the garden itself. The important thing is to get your children’s hands in the soil and develop a relationship with the natural world.

    Life is a Garden Dig it!

    Dont wait for your school to start a garden; start your own and urge them to start one too. Start a windowbox, container garden, backyard patch, or be bold and start a community garden in your neighborhood or be a guerrilla gardener in the city.

  4. Pingback: Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall gives out well earned awards | Hello Eco Living

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