A workers' cooperative growing food on London's edge in the Lea Valley

Growing Food in Schools

We believe every school should be growing food!

OrganicLea is working with London Borough of Waltham Forest (LBWF) to develop and implement its Food Strategy, which encourages food growing activity in local schools. We also work in Hackney, Haringey, and Enfield.

Get growing

OrganicLea Site Visits for Schools

How Can OrganicLea support your school to develop its gardening program?

As an established food growing organisation, Organiclea has been a point of contact and support for local schools for the last 4 years.

  • Grow Food in Your School- OrganicLea can support your school to use the garden as an effective teaching and learning tool throughout the school year. Our aim is to include students, staff, parents, and the whole community in the design, development and implementation of the garden. OrganicLea can provide experienced school gardeners 6 -30 hours a week for a term, one-year, or two years.
  • Accredited Training Programmes- OrganicLea runs accredited 6-week and 10-week sessions that focus on community leadership, social enterprise, and healthy eating. Some examples include:  Taking Part in a Garden Enterprise, Seed to Plate: Skills in Growing and Eating Organic Fruit and Vegetables, and Introduction to Horticulture. These programs run during school hours or as part of enrichment programs.
  • Alternative Provision- OrganicLea can support marginalised students to develop functional skills and self-awareness outside of mainstream classrooms. Our AP program is based at our main-growing site, Hawkwood Community Plant Nursery in Chingford. Our experience as educators has shown us that outdoor learning and physical work engages those most challenged by mainstream education. Students can receive up to a Level One qualification in Practical Gardening Skills.

Other ways that we support schools;
Visits to Hawkwood Plant Nursery– support 5- 50 students to explore any aspect of food-growing and can connect to Key Stage 1 and 2 National Curriculum standards including nutrition, PHSE, and STEM subjects.
Half-day and Full-day Workshops- OrganicLea support workers can deliver workshops ranging from soil chemistry, cooking with seasonal fruit and vegetables, running a successful school market stall, and much more.
Continuous Professional Development –OrganicLea can support school staff on how to use the garden as a teaching and learning tool to engage with students in creative math and science exercises. Staff can be accredited up to a Level 1.

What are the benefits of including food growing in schools?

Supporting Learning

  • Food growing in schools raises young people’s achievements across the curriculum, with benefits noted particularly for science learning, as well as language skills, maths and food technology.
  • Young people developing broad range of skills including – life skills (cooking and communication); financial and enterprise skills; skills for employment (i.e. team work, problem solving); horticultural skills.
  • Improved motivation and behaviours in and out of the classroom (I.e enthusiasm for school and learning, improved attendance, and completion of homework)
  • Improved environmental awareness and attitude

Enhancing Health and Well-being

  • Increased self-esteem, self-worth and confidence
  • Positive Impact on diet and nutrition
  • Improved physical health

Developing and improving Schools

  • Supporting development of a whole school ethos
  • Increased pupil voice through food growing
  • Integration of the school into the community, local businesses and organisations

Further support for the benefits of growing school in foods can be found in Food Growing in Schools Taskforce Report (2012)

For more information on setting up or supporting a school food growing project please email schools@organiclea.org.uk