1 June 2017
By Elaine Murphy
Mr. O’Connor’s first class from Sunday’s Well Boys National School in Cork City has been announced as the GIY and innocent drinks Sow & Grow Champions 2017. Today (June 1st) the green fingered school children will attend the Bloom festival and meet Uachtarán na hÉireann Michael D Higgins.
Over 45,000 children in 1,278 schools nationwide took part in the sixth annual Sow & Grow initiative, which enabled the primary school children to learn how to grow their own food in their classrooms.
The teacher of the winning class, Mr. O’Connor says his pupils gained a great deal from the experience and enjoyed it immensely. “These 13 boys have taken to growing food like naturals. Only one of the boys had grown food at home, so it was a brand new experience to all of the other children. They loved the idea of this growing challenge; they enjoyed taking ownership and responsibility for their plants, writing their names on their grow pots. They are a creative group; they brought in Lego Star Wars figures and would set up a scene in the garden or amongst the growing pots, so it would look like the storm troopers were doing gardening but they would call them ‘sow troopers’. They also used the cress in their school lunches and realised that their growing skills were so brilliant that the pots had run out of room for the plants to grow further, so they made a decision to transfer the plants to an outdoor bed which they weeded and prepared themselves.
After today, we are planning for a super salad lunch at the end of June with all of the food produce that we have grown before we break up for the summer holidays.”
Presenting the award to the class, founder of GIY Michael Kelly said, “The 13 pupils from Sunday’s Well Boys National School really impressed us, they are a small class with a huge imagination. During their food growing journey they really engaged in not only growing their own food but in sharing their growing story and learning on social media and also in using their produce for their school lunches. We can tell from how well they integrated the tasks into their classwork that over the spring of 2017 these pupils have learned life-long lessons about growing their own food and that is hugely important to all of us at GIY. Our Behaviour & Attitudes Ireland survey from early this year told us at 14% of Irish children don’t understand where their food comes from and this is why initiatives such as ‘Sow & Grow’ are so important and we are really thrilled to see that over 40% of the country’s schools took part in Sow & Grow this year.”
The class of winning pupils were presented with a ‘Sow & Grow’ certificate, a trip to Dublin Zoo, €500 worth of gardening equipment and one year growing support from GIY.
Ali Gibbons, Marketing Manager for innocent drinks Ireland said, “Every year, for the past 6 years, we have been blown away by the levels of excitement and engagement that we see in classrooms around the country as a result of kids growing their own food. And this year was no exception. At innocent, we know that even the smallest food growing experiences can change the way kids think about healthy food. By growing it themselves, kids are much more likely to eat (and enjoy eating) fruit and veg, and hopefully continue eating healthily for the rest of their lives. The 13 boys from Sunday’s Well BNS really went above and beyond to share their growing journey over the past few months. From mini movies to cress lunches, we were just really impressed.”
To date, since its inception in 2009, the GIY and innocent drinks campaign has facilitated 155,000 children in growing their own food through the supply of seeds, grow pots, compost and expert growing advice and tips. The children not only learn the science of growing, they also experience the joy of growing and eating their own food. GIY calls this “Food Empathy” a deeper connection with food, which is proven to lead to a healthier life long-term. This campaign has been so impactful that GIY and innocent are also rolling the project out across a quarter of all primary schools in the UK.
To learn more about ‘Sow and Grow’ and to view some of the progress from schools across the country seehttps://innocentsowandgrow.
Free to use images available from Mark Stedman – firstname.lastname@example.org 0863679394.
Caption: (Also in file info)
Pictured are the XX class pupils in Mr. O’Connor’s class at Sunday’s Well Boys National School in Cork City who were celebrating at Bloom today (Thursday June 1st) as they were announced the winners of the nationwide GIY and innocent drinks ‘Sow and Grow’ competition