Colette Bond, Garden Organic’s Head of Education, reports on a successful partnership to bring training sessions that support teachers growing in schools:

One way we can help to ensure that food growing happens in schools is by offering Continuous Professional Development training – CPD – to the teachers and other adults who work in schools, for example by providing horticultural advice and information about working with children and young people in this area.

Since 2009, the Daylesford Foundation has been working in partnership with Garden Organic to ‘teach the teacher’ and develop their knowledge and confidence to work with their pupils in school food growing activities. True to the Daylesford Foundation’s aims, the project was designed to promote and enhance healthy eating and nutrition through education in principles of organic farming and growing. This project created links with schools and supported the development of food growing in the classroom, in the playground, and at home.

The sessions were hosted at Daylesford Farm, located in the Cotswolds.  Each day comprised practical sessions with Garden Organic’s education officer, a tour of the growing area with Daylesford’s head gardener Jez Taylor, and lunch from the Farmshop café.  Feedback showed that participants found the sessions useful and enjoyable, with many immediate and long-term benefits noted, such as:

  • Practical information – harvesting before the end of July, testing soils, growing organically, crop rotation, what to plant when, organic pest and disease control and water conservation; tips were cleverly tailored to suit school projects
  • Inspiration – sessions were given in a beautiful setting and fabulous lunch. Jez Taylor and Garden Organic’s education officer were both engaging and knowledgeable
  • Resources – the resources handed out during the day were helpful and appropriate to schools. The salad seedling packs provided by Daylesford Farm were a lovely thing to take back for the children to grow
  • Networking – problem solving, learning from discussions with others, group support and encouragement, and feeling part of a wider activity built our own confidence

Follow-up interviews showed that attendance had a significant impact on school food growing.  Teachers felt reinvigorated and shared their renewed enthusiasm with the young people. Some teachers had attended multiple sessions and said they would come again as a good refresher.

On a practical level, one school is now growing a wider variety of salad leaves: the teacher learnt that there were many more than she had previously thought. Another school is growing produce to sell, and is linking this to curriculum learning.  The Food Growing in Schools Taskforce report demonstrates many benefits for schools in growing food and this is apparent for those schools that have attended this training.

We believe children hold the future of sustainable food production and healthy soils. The Foundation is immensely proud to support Garden Organic in leading these training sessions.”

Carole Bamford, Daylesford Foundation


If you would like more details on training from Garden Organic, please contact the education department on 024 7621 7747 or email cbond@gardenorganic.org.uk.