The veg connection

Thursday 6th April 2017
The Sow & Grow campaign inspires children to grow their own

The veg connection

A study of 1,500 parents with young children has revealed that 55 per cent feel the best way to learn about healthy eating is to grow their own fruit and vegetables in the classroom and at home. However, with 1 in 5 parents saying they have never attempted to produce homegrown food themselves, and an honest 14 per cent admitting they do not have the time or energy to encourage a diet of fruit and vegetables all of the time, the tradition of learning how to grow your own is under threat.
Innocent drinks, who carried out the survey, has partnered with not-for-profit organisation Grow-It-Yourself (GIY) to launch this year's Sow & Grow campaign, which will reach a quarter of UK primary schools, and get children engaged in healthy eating.
Michael Kelly, founder of social enterprise GIY, said: 'Our Sow & Grow campaign is all about helping children to really re-connect with their food in a meaningful way by growing some of it themselves. We call this "food empathy" and there's lots of evidence to show that children that grow their own food have better diets, eat more fruit and vegetables and have a better understanding of nutrition. By growing food we also get them thinking about where their food comes from, the effort required to produce it and seasonality. By taking them through their first food-growing experience we also hope to encourage a life-long love of fruit and veg.'
Hannah Wright, teacher at Horsenden Primary in Greenford, says: 'Prior to the Sow & Grow competition, we regularly found that children were unable to tell us where their food had come from. It was not unusual for children to tell us that fruit and vegetables come from "the supermarket" or "factories". There are no resources or funding available to most state-maintained schools for projects like this, plus we have no time in the school day as growing is not required under the National Curriculum. Sow & Grow was the perfect way to have a little growing project in the classroom that cost us nothing and did not take time away from the statutory subjects, plus it ignited the children's interest in all things growing. Once the children showed an interest, many families were quick to pick this up and begin growing at home. It was clear that by seeing the growing process happen for themselves – albeit on a tiny scale – the children were much less wary of fruit and vegetables and open to trying new things.'
Sim Viney, brand manager at Innocent, says: 'We know that children who grow their own food are more likely to eat fruit and veg, and that kids who develop healthy habits at a young age are more likely to become healthy adults. At the moment 9 out of 10 young people are not getting their five-a-day, so our Sow & Grow campaign will get a quarter of all primary school kids growing veg in their classrooms, and learning where their food comes from. We're hoping the campaign itself will grow in future years – our ultimate goal is to get every primary school child in the country to experience growing their own veg.'

Is your school signed up? If so then upload your photos at https://innocentsowandgrow.com/ to be in with the chance to win monthly prizes from innocent and see your classroom crowned as Sow & Grow champions!
Following the repackage of innocent kids drinks, consumers can also win seed packs by following the instructions on pack. Available nationwide now in most major supermarkets. Good luck!

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