Branston awards prize to local school

Posted: 18 July 2012
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A local school has won the regional category of the Potato Council’s Grow Your Own Potatoes competition, by growing the heaviest crop of spuds in the South West.

Trull Church of England School scooped an award from the Potato Council as well as a special prize from Branston Ltd for successfully growing 4.5kg of potatoes from their three seed potatoes, which were supplied by Branston Seed, the seed division of the UK’s largest potato supplier.

The company provided Piccolo Star seed potatoes to 2,720 schools across the South West region for the Potato Council’s Grow Your Own Potatoes (GYOP) project, which equated to 8,160 seed potatoes in total. The winning class, from Trull Church of England School in Taunton, was Elm class, which is made up of 29 children aged between six and seven years old.

Launched in 2005, GYOP was one of the first primary school-based growing projects. Since then it has become the largest of its kind, with almost one million children signed up this year, learning where potatoes come from, how they grow and that potatoes are a healthy food.

The Potato Council provides two different varieties for schools to grow. The first variety is entered in the nationwide competition and the second one is judged on a regional basis. The regional varieties were donated by different seed potato suppliers, with Branston covering the South West.

The children at Trull Church of England School were presented with their prizes by Ian Wait, general manager of Branston’s South West site, in Ilminster. He said:  “GYOP is a really valuable initiative, which teaches primary aged children about potatoes. At Branston, we think it’s vital that children learn about how potatoes grow and how they fit in to a healthy balanced diet, so we are always happy to support this project.”

The Potato Council provided a limited edition, hand-forged Bulldog Presentation Border spade, complete with certificate of authenticity. Branston was so impressed with the great crop that the children had grown that the company also presented the school with a Marmax Junior Buddy Bench. These colourful corner benches are aimed at encouraging children to socialise and build communities, by providing a place where they can chat to friends and discuss problems. They are environmentally friendly, made from 100% recycled plastic and look fabulous in school playgrounds.

Jessica Wintrip, Elm class teacher said: “This is the second time we have been involved in the GYOP initiative, and as a school, we think it’s really important that children know how their food is grown and where it comes from. The children absolutely loved the whole process and the delight on their faces was clear to see when they harvested the potatoes. They also kept a potato diary, and kept an eye on the weather, so if it was dry, the children would water the plants and it gave them a real sense of ownership.

“Once they were harvested, we washed and cooked them to eat too and even the children who were a little reluctant at first tried them. We are delighted to have won the region’s heaviest weight, and are thrilled with the special spade and the brilliant new bench from Branston. We have an area in the playground where it will fit perfectly, and the children will really enjoy it for years to come.”