Plough to playground: School kids stage farmers’ markets

Three London schools held their own farmers markets last month as part of a major new food education project for the capital.

Over the coming year and a half, the Soil Association will be working with 10 schools across London in the Farm Academy Programme, which helps teach pupils about where their food comes from through farm visits and the establishment of school farmers markets – organized entirely by pupils.

Over the summer, Jubilee Primary and Sebright Primary in Hackney and Poplar Primary in Merton spent four days on an organic farm, taking part in a variety of activities – from cheese-making to hen-keeping and growing and harvesting vegetables.

Back in the classroom, pupils have applied what they learnt to establishing termly farmers markets beginning this autumn – selling their own school-grown produce as well as that from local and sometimes organic producers.

Money raised from producer stall fees and the sale of produce made/grown by the school will go towards further farm visits or food education in their school.

Rupert Aker, head of learning at the Soil Association commented on the project: “The Farm Academy Programme is a fantastic scheme because everyone involved benefits. You see a real difference in pupils as they learn ‘on-the-job’ about farming, animal welfare, food growing and cooking – but it also helps provide a new market for local producers and micro- food enterprises; and it also gives the local community the opportunity to buy affordable and fresh local produce, and meet the farmers who are producing the food.”