Borough Market has called on the government to make food growing a part of the national curriculum.
On 5 October, children from ten London primary schools set out stalls and sold fruit and vegetables grown from seed at the Borough Harvest Sale. All the proceeds went to food distribution charity FareShare, with the children raising enough for over 2,000 meals from their trading.
At the event, pupils were taught the art of growing veg from seed by former Blue Peter gardener Chris Collins, while Borough Market traders shared their selling secrets with the budding stallholders.
The initiative was part of the Young Marketeers programme, run as a partnership with food education charity School Food Matters, which is now in its sixth year at Borough Market. To date, 7,200 children from over 80 London schools have helped grow fruit and vegetables at their school to raise money for FareShare, providing 13,738 meals for those in need.
That success has led Borough to call for more support from the government in terms of promoting food growing in primary schools and adding gardening skills to the national curriculum.
Donald Hyslop, chair of Borough Market trustees, said: “Inspiring the next generation to reconnect with the provenance of their food is one of the most important lessons we can teach; that’s why we’re calling on the government to make gardening skills part of the primary curriculum.
"A thriving edible school garden is an invaluable resource in supporting children to develop healthy habits. Through hands-on experience of food growing, children learn to recognise and enjoy the taste of a wide range of produce, and this can have a direct impact on their home lives. Since we started the Young Marketeers project six years ago, local primary schools have grown over 45 different varieties of fruit and vegetables with great pride and enthusiasm. A great example of what can be achieved when given both the space in the curriculum, and the physical space in the school grounds where they can enjoy growing.”
Stephanie Wood, founder and CEO of School Food Matters, added: “For the past ten years we’ve been promoting the benefits of food growing and playing our part to support schools through our projects with partners such as Borough Market. But now it’s time for government to step up, honour the commitments made in the Childhood Obesity Plan and support schools to become Healthy Zones, where they can eat well, enjoy the benefits of outdoor activity and learn how to grow and cook food to keep themselves healthy.“