Helping children to develop healthy habits…

Garden Organic and Dole Packaged Foods Europe bring special Learning Garden to Bexley primary schools.
schoolchild holding a pod of peas.

Teachers, administrators, pupils and associates of Garden Organic and Dole Packaged Foods Europe have installed Learning Gardens at Crook Log and Lessness Heath Primary Schools in London. Project Learning Garden creates effective outdoor learning spaces for children to engage in inquiry-driven, project-based learning across all disciplines. It also provides a special curriculum and more chances for students to expand their palates and knowledge of food and the environment.

Crook Log and Lessness Heath Primary Schools were awarded the Project Learning Garden after applying for a special grant offered by packaged foods supplier Dole Packaged Foods Europe, and Garden Organic - the national charity for organic growing.

The schools have received a full working garden that includes five raised beds, with accompanying soil and seeds. It also includes lesson kits filled with supplies, a fully-equipped gardening and cooking kit and strategies for garden maintenance during the school holidays.

The initiative is the latest step in an existing partnership between the US-based Captain Planet Foundation and Garden Organic, which has already seen 30 schools benefit from similar kits.

Throughout 2018 Project Learning Garden has been active in the London Borough of Bexley to help address some of the Borough’s health challenges. Louise Tse, Public Health Obesity Lead, has been supporting the programme and says, “Tackling obesity requires a whole-systems approach which means working with the community, voluntary organisations, schools, libraries, health and care professionals who all can input into improving the environment and enabling better health. Working with Garden Organic has given us a fantastic offer for schools through Project Learning Garden, helping schools to educate children on healthy eating and food origin, to improve overall health and wellbeing.”

For the last five years, Dole Packaged Foods has been partnering with the Captain Planet Foundation in the US and now Garden Organic in the UK. “Here at Dole Packaged Foods Europe, we understand the importance of teaching children the benefits of incorporating fruits and vegetables into their diet, whether they are enjoying fresh produce from their learning garden, or a healthy DOLE® snack,” said James Watson, Marketing Director at Dole Packaged Foods Europe. “By partnering with Garden Organic and the Captain Planet Foundation, we are helping more pupils learn about and develop healthy habits.”

Now the schools have their kits, they are raring to go with their gardens. Schools will be supported by ongoing organic growing advice provided by Garden Organic to ensure the schools and their pupils really get the most out of the learning garden. The partners hope to be able to offer Project Learning Garden to more and more schools across the UK in coming months and years.