For 60 years Garden Organic has sought to protect the rich, interdependent, diverse life that makes up gardens and growing spaces. For the past 20 years Garden Organic has been bringing the benefits of gardening to schools, helping students and communities access the benefits of growing food by engaging in hands on activities. Since 2013, Garden Organic has led the Food Growing Schools: London partnership, helping to improve the lives of pupils by supporting food growing initiatives at hundreds of schools across the capital.
Dormers Wells High School (pictured) is a mixed inner-city comprehensive in London, with over 1,000 pupils, where food growing has transformed the lives of a group of boys who were finding it difficult to engage in mainstream education. Funding was the main challenge initially, so pupils started selling their harvest at parents’ evenings and joined Food Growing Schools: London Marketplace events, turning their harvest into jams, chutneys, sauces and cakes to sell. The original group of boys flourished in the garden - their behaviour improved, they worked well as a team and they took pride in their achievements.
'Not only are the pupils learning new skills and building self-esteem, they understand the importance of healthy eating, and make enough money from their enterprise to develop the garden and fund their place on the annual school trip', writes Jerry O’Sullivan, the Design Technology teacher who instigated growing at the school. Pupils gained passion and skills for life with some setting up their own businesses or choosing careers in the field of horticulture.
This is just one of many success stories of food growing in schools as Garden Organic continues to work to give every pupil the opportunity to experience the benefits. Download a free activity pack of advice for growing your own business with pupils at your school here.