Foodshare.co.uk – The Fantastic "Growing to Give" Project for Schools
Radio 4’s Gardeners’ Question Time panel of Bob Flowerdew, Anne Swithinbank, Matthew Wilson and Eric Robson were unanimous in their positive feedback after hearing about a new charitable project called Foodshare, which encourages the growing of produce for local charities.
When we at the RHS Gardening for Schools Campaign heard about Foodshare, we had to agree with the panel. We are delighted to be working with Foodshare to help spread their idea and encourage schools to set up their own scheme.
Foodshare originally started in a small village in Cambridgeshire where a group of allotment holders decided to collect their surplus produce and donate it to the kitchen at the local Children’s Hospice. In just three months, they had donated the equivalent of over £1,000 of fresh produce. Inspired by their efforts, Milton Primary School, one of the 10,000 schools that are part of the RHS Campaign for School Gardening, decided to go one step further and create a dedicated Foodshare Bed on their school allotment. As a result, the national scheme for schools was born – Foodshare’s Growing to Give project.
Through their efforts Milton Primary School hope to inspire every school in the UK to set up their own Foodshare bed. Fiona O’Shea, the teacher who runs school gardening club, explains:
‘The children are now learning two wonderful life skills – growing and sharing. It is really heart-warming to see how the pupils are so excited about planting seeds and nurturing plants, knowing the fruits of their efforts will be enjoyed by children at the Hospice. There are so many different aspects of school life that Foodshare is integrating with, from assemblies to arithmetic. For example, one task is weighing and collating their harvests. Using the online Foodshare Totaliser, pupils can find out the monetary value of their food donation compared to current supermarket prices.
At school, each child will grow a Foodshare plant to take home to nurture with their parents. All the produce we harvest for the charity is placed in the Foodshare Donation Station at the school allotment. Each day children check for donations and deliver the food to the Hospice the same afternoon it was picked.’