Capital growth Has Taken Root At A Putney Primary School & Roehampton Uni

Grants up to £1,000  are still available for new community food growing projects -

Related Links

For more information on the competition or training opportunities please call Capital Growth, on: 020 7837 1228 or visit: 

Fifteen London

Sign up for email newsletters from

Today Mayor, Boris Johnson announced the Capital Growth schools competition has branched out to include London's secondary schools, colleges and universities. In the Sw15 area already taking part are Greenmead Primary School & Roehampton University. 

Greenmead School provides for pupils who have a statement of special educational needs as a result of their physical disability and a combination of communication difficulties, sensory impairment and complex medical needs. The school benefits from a range of on-site therapy support with a purpose-built building. Through Capital Growth  with the help of teachers, catering staff and support staff, this food growing site offers children, many with physical challenges, the chance to grow and cook their own food.

Roehampton University has developed a space on their campus for food growing. Project Dirt  is managed by staff and students, but also benefits the local community through its organised events.

Building of the success of last year's inaugural competition aimed at primary schools, this year entries will be welcomed from even more educational organisations with the capital's top food growers in line to win a crop of top prizes.

The competition is being backed by Fifteen London as a great way to help London's young people and students learn about food growing and to eat and cook with fresh, seasonal produce. The restaurant, founded by Jamie Oliver, has offered two people in both the secondary schools category and the combined category for colleges and universities the chance to spend a day at Fifteen London. Lucky winners will don chef’s whites to shadow the restaurant's top chefs for the day, watching service and tasting some of the dishes. They will also get the opportunity to get involved and help out in the kitchens. Fifteen is committed to training its staff and apprentices to instil a passion for great food and a respect for the environment.

Other prizes in all categories include raised beds, tools, fruit trees, seeds, gift cards. The primary and nursery school winners will get the chance to come to City Hall's vegetable patch to meet and show off their skills to the Mayor, Boris Johnson.

At the same time, Capital Growth has announced its latest round of small grants to help people set up a community food plot amounting to £50,000 in total. This is open to potential entries to the education competition as well as any group keen to get growing.

Boris Johnson, said:
‘I want London to teem with beautiful green spaces to improve the quality of life in our city, especially as we head for 2012 when the world's eyes will be on us. This Capital Growth competition is a brilliant way to help people catch the food growing bug, so I urge people to unleash their creative juices and join in.'

Last year's primary school entries helped create 50 brand new Capital Growth plots and their creativity included growing food in the head-teacher’s shoes, creating a bug hotel and using own-grown rhubarb for school lunches. Other pupils in London are using food growing to cultivate business and entrepreneurial skills by selling crops to farmers markets. Students at London's universities can also help cut their living costs by producing a cheap supply of food.

Raj Kotbcha, Headteacher of South Haringey Infant school, winners of last year's competition and where pupils have created a 'bug hotel' for to encourage insects, said:
'This project has demonstrated how much can be achieved in a garden and provides an engaging and healthy environment for pupils who may not have access to the outdoors at home. They also get to taste the delicious produce with enough potatoes being harvested to feed all of the 180 pupils.’

South Haringey pupils digging in

Rosie Boycott, Chair of the Mayor’s Food board, added:
‘Capital Growth is flourishing and we know there is an appetite out there from secondary schools, colleges and universities to get involved. Food growing brings a whole heap of benefits for children, younger people and students so I cannot wait to see the wealth of variety in our competition entries.’

To help educational institutions and other organisations get growing, Capital Growth will also be launching a training programme across four sites, which will include classes for teachers.

Capital Growth is a partnership initiative between London Food Link, the Mayor of London Boris Johnson, and the Big Lottery's Local Food Fund. It is championed by the Chair of the London Food Board Rosie Boycott and aims to create 2012 new community food growing spaces across London by the end of 2012. Capital Growth offers practical help, grants training and support to groups wanting to establish community food growing projects as well as well as advice to landowners.  There are already 726 plots in a wide range of places including plots at schools, housing estates, homeless hostels, universities and even in skips.

February 3, 2011