Tomato growing campaign designed to encourage primary school children to eat more veg relaunches this year with support from celebrities

Getting children involved in growing tomatoes can encourage them to eat veg

Getting children involved in growing tomatoes can encourage them to eat veg

Veg Power, the not-for-profit alliance to increase UK vegetable consumption, launched its 2024 ‘Growing to Love’ campaign this week (1 May).

The tomato-growing project is set to reach double the number of schools and children this year compared to 2023.

Growing to Love supports children’s learning about food, its origins and growth, while also encouraging vegetable acceptance.

This year’s campaign has been supported by a range of experts including TV and radio presenter, Sam Nixon, and former Blue Peter Gardener, Chris Collins.

The project involves 21,000 children from 351 primary schools across the UK.

#GrowingtoLove was designed to give children responsibility and ownership for nurturing their seedlings into tomato plants while having fun along the way.

The tomato seeds are sown at school before the summer holidays, the seedlings are brought home during the break, ready for picking in September.

Each participating school receives a Growing to Love pack containing all the necessary growing materials including windowsill propagation kits, seeds, organic vegetable feed, compost and plant labels.

The packs were developed in collaboration with the growing resource expertise of Westland, the campaign’s fulfilment partner, as well as a team of experts including nutritionists, behavioural psychologists and educators who support Veg Power.

The Growing to Love pack also contains a ’practical guide to growing’ handbook for teachers, and a series of short, instructional videos to watch in class and lesson plans for each year group.

The tomato plant is at the centre of different learning opportunities focused around topics such as photosynthesis and germination, all in support of growing.

A Growing to Love website is also available for teachers, parents, carers and children at

Commenting on the Growing to Love campaign, Dr Clare Holley, senior lecturer in psychology specialising in children’s eating behaviour, Loughborough University, said: “Getting children involved in growing vegetables can not only reconnect them with both food and nature, but it can also be enjoyable and an excellent way to help them get excited about vegetables.

”In fact, research shows that being involved in growing vegetables is a reliable way to decrease their reluctance to try vegetables as well as leading children to eat more vegetables.”

Commenting on this initiative, Dan Parker, chief executive, Veg Power, said: “We know children learn best when they’re having fun, and this campaign was developed with this in mind.

”Teachers have shared that their pupils can’t wait to get stuck in and get their hands dirty while learning about how we grow food and developing their understanding of the food chain, climate, sustainability and our environment.

”The added bonus is that the children will be more likely to try the tomatoes at the end of the process which we hope creates life-long veg-eating habits.”

The 2024 Growing to Love campaign follows a smaller pilot project completed in Edinburgh in 2022 and a successful nationwide roll out in 2023 reaching 11,000 children from 145 schools.

The campaign is sponsored by seed breeder Hazera, with additional donations and support from Edible Edinburgh, Edinburgh City Council, Edinburgh Community Food, Unwins, Westland, EVG, Hazera, Rijk Zwann, Waitrose, Sakata, ISS and AbbeyView.