The initiative, in association with the Waitrose farm on the Leckford Estate, aims to inspire over 100,000 children across the UK to grow their own produce during the summer months.
Waitrose says the children will learn more about where food comes from and the impact of seasons, and will develop entrepreneurial skills by selling their food directly to shoppers.
For the launch in week commencing April 8th 2013, every Waitrose branch will work with four local primary schools who will each receive a ‘Grow and Sell Seed Kit’.
The kit has been specially designed to get school veg patches up and running, and includes seeds, equipment and step-by-step growing instructions. Later in the summer, the branches will invite the schools to sell their home-grown produce outside the store.
Schools will also be able to receive additional ‘Grow and Sell Seed Kits’ through the in-store Waitrose Community Matters scheme, where customers can support their local school by dropping a green token into the relevant perspex box.
Alan Titchmarsh, the gardener and TV personality, recently came on board at Waitrose to help raise the profile of British agriculture and horticulture.
Titchmarsh says: “Teaching children at an early age about the food they eat and where it comes from is something that I’m very passionate about – we’ve all read shocking statistics about how many nowadays do not know what chips are made from or that a blackberry is a type of fruit and not just a phone. The Waitrose ‘Grow and Sell’ scheme will play an important role in helping children understand the journey from field to plate. And evidence shows those who participate in growing projects are more likely to eat a wider variety of foods and make good nutritional choices throughout their lives.”
Tina Varns, sustainability & ethical sourcing manager, Waitrose, adds: “We are really pleased to be rolling this initiative out to all 290 of our branches. Growing at school encourages children to eat well and to go for a wider variety in their food – we believe this is very important as it paves the way for healthy eating. The scheme also allows children to identify where food comes from, the importance of seasonality and the fragility of producing food. But broader than that, we hope it will teach children to be enterprising by developing an entrepreneurial spirit by selling their produce to our customers.”
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