Planting time for Grow Your Own Potatoes kits
Bracebridge Infant School planting their potatoes
Grow Your Own Potatoes kits have been delivered to more than 6,000 schools nationwide after the programme was saved from closure thanks to support from across the industry. Children across the country will now get hands-on with farm-to-fork learning as they plant the potatoes this week.
Following recent funding issues, the educational initiative, which has already reached more than six million children, was due to come to an end last year. However, thanks to the support of key businesses including leading spud supplier Branston, primary schools will continue to benefit from the potato kits.
Jackie Baker, communications manager at Branston, said: “Having the experience of growing produce from seed is one that is so important, especially at a young age. It allows children to see where their food comes from and inspires them to get involved in the garden and be inquisitive throughout the process.
“We’re always eager to get behind any initiatives that support education on produce and share the fantastic health benefits of potatoes. We were more than happy to get involved and help in any way we could with the Grow Your Own Potatoes Programme and are looking forward to seeing the progress the schools make with their plants.”
Two varieties of potato – Casablanca and Shannon - were provided to the schools. Children started by chitting their seeds, allowing them to develop sprouts. Armed with resources provided by the Grow Your Own Potatoes programme they’ll be able to track the progress of the spuds with the aim of harvesting them on 13 June.
Potato House is the new home of the Grow Your Own Potatoes initiative. Its managing director, Andrew Skea, said: “Thanks to the backing of our partners, we are now able to continue this brilliant scheme. Not only will they be helping to make a difference to the way children view their food, but through the guidance packs provided they’ll also be learning about how to establish healthy eating habits.”
The potatoes will be ready for schools to harvest in time for Healthy Eating Week, commencing 12 June, which will offer a further opportunity to develop their learning.
Sue Lawton, project manager at Grow Your Own Potatoes, said: “The programme has made a positive impact since its inception. The project targets children at an influential age, combining classroom theory with fun, hands-on activity and helping to keep potatoes in the hearts and minds of the next generation of consumers. Being able to continue this with the backing of the industry is incredibly important.”