Launched in October 2015, the Growathon was the biggest school food growing challenge of the year, with a target of getting 50,000 pupils involved by the end of the school summer term. The target has been exceeded with 54,168 school children reportedly involved in food growing activities such as eco gardening clubs, seed saving projects and markets to sell their homegrown produce and products, such as jams and chutneys.
Schools have been able to log their activities on the Growathon website, where a Carrot Totaliser showed the numbers grow over the last 10 months.
The idea behind the challenge was simple and revolutionary at the same time: imagine what London would be like if more and more young people grow food.
Colette Bond, Head of Education at Garden Organic, said:
“The Food Growing Schools: London partnership has been encouraging schools to grow food since 2013 and we’re delighted to report that over 50,000 pupils are already enjoying the benefits. From improved health and wellbeing and developing an understanding of where our food comes from to developing skills and confidence, the Growathon campaign highlights all the great things that come from food growing in schools. Congratulations to all the London children that took part!”
The FGSL partnership brings together the very best of London’s food growing expertise, information and support to inspire and equip every school in London to grow their own food.
The partnership is led by Garden Organic and includes Capital Growth, the Soil Association’s Food For Life Partnership, 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.
Former TV Blue Peter gardener, Chris Collins, said:
“It’s brilliant to see the number of kids involved in food growing climbing the way it is. I’m a big supporter of the Growathon campaign and I’m thrilled to see that the target has been smashed by the end of the school year!”
FGSL are planning an event to celebrate the success of the Growathon and the project in its final year at City Hall in October this year. This will coincide with their second annual Schools Marketplace event, the first of which was attended by the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and took place in July.
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.