The event showcased delicious food grown in London’s schools – from salads, chards, rocket, beetroot, potatoes and herbs, to home made products such as plum jams and mango chutneys, tasty elderflower cordials, mint dips and more.
The Schools Marketplace event is part of the Growathon initiative, which aims to get 50,000 pupils involved in food growing by the end of the summer term, run by the Food Growing Schools: London partnership (FGSL).
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, visited every stall and said: “I’m really pleased to host the Schools Marketplace in City Hall. I want to help Londoners to have access to better food, and lead healthier lifestyles, so it’s great to see these young people growing their own grub and developing entrepreneurial skills.”
The FGSL partnership brings together the very best of London’s food growing expertise, information and support, with the ambition to inspire and equip every school in London to grow their own food.
The Schools Marketplace was organised by FGSL and partner Capital Growth, who were delighted with the number of schools that took part in this and another initiatives as part of its Growathon campaign, which also included a film competition and other marketplace events across London.
The FGSL partnership, led by Garden Organic, also includes the Soil Association’s Food For Life project, the Royal Horticultural Society, School Food Matters and Trees for Cities. The project is funded by the Big Lottery Fund and has also been supported by the Mayor of London.
Chair of the London Food Board, Rosie Boycott, said: “These young people have shown that with some hard work and only a small amount of money you can create a wide range of food and drink using ingredients you have grown yourself. By starting young they’re laying the groundwork for a lifetime of enjoying their own produce.”
As well as produce stalls, an award ceremony for the Capital Growth “Showcase your Growing Competition” took place at 1.30pm. Judged by Chris Collins, best known as the former TV Blue Peter gardener, the winning schools (Selwyn Primary School - Newham, Glebe School - Bromley and Copenaghen Primary – Islington, were given prizes, including a great set of Bulldog Tools.
Former TV Blue Peter gardener, Chris Collins, said:
“It’s brilliant to see schools getting involved in food growing and enjoying themselves whilst they’re at it. Not only are young people learning where our food comes from, they’re also getting healthy, gaining valuable skills and learning to be enterprising by selling their produce at Marketplace events like this one today!”
During the ceremony, the winners of Capital Growth’s ‘Harvest-ometer Challenge’ were announced. The challenge inspired and helped schools to grow and measure their harvest with an online tool that calculates the value of your harvest. Trafalgar Infant School, Richmond won the “Most food grown per square metre” award; Charlton Manor Primary School, Greenwich, the “Biggest range of produce” title and Ambler Primary School, Islington, was nominated as “Growing School Hero”.
London schools can access free support, tips and materials by completing the Food Growing Schools: London survey at www.foodgrowingschools.org/survey. Every school that completes the survey will be entered into a draw to win some fantastic prizes, including a meal for two worth £50 at Wahaca, a visit from the highly skilled FGSL gardening team and freebies to support their school’s food growing activities.