Anyone who shops down Surrey Street knows that the stall holders there all know their onions.
But wander down the street market this Thursday, and you’re likely to encounter one special stall where the rather youthful-looking stall-holders will be keener than ever to demonstrate how they have grown their own fruit and veg and understand the importance of good, fresh produce to a healthy lifestyle.
Pupils from The Link Secondary School in Beddington will be selling rhubarb, potatoes, spring onions, lettuce, herbs and more, with all proceeds being reinvested into their schools.
Part of a programme called Know Your Onions, the scheme is run by the charity School Food Matters, and gives pupils an opportunity to experience cooking and growing at school, with the help of expert gardeners and food teachers, to stimulate an interest in food and a love of the natural world.
School Food Matters teaches children about food through a range of engaging school projects and works to improve children’s access to healthy, sustainable meals during their time at school.
The free programme for schools, now in its seventh year, also sees students visiting a nearby market garden to observe how the professionals do it.
More than 100 pupils from seven other boroughs also taking part in the programme will be selling their produce at local markets around London on the same day.
“We are delighted to have 19 secondary schools taking part in Know Your Onions this year, with whom we’ve run almost 100 cooking workshops, gardening sessions and farm visits,” said Dela Foster from School Food Matters.
“While there are quite a few opportunities at primary school to grow fruit and veg, these often dwindle at secondary school, leaving pupils with the impression that gardening is just for little children.
“However, with Know Your Onions, we build on their understanding, and can start to develop a real knowledge of plants, soil and vegetable produce. It is a delight to see them take ownership of their gardens and start to connect the vegetables they cook with with the ones they grow.”
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