More than ever there is a need to move children away from ‘beige’ food towards brighter, healthier foods.
Recent research found that 84% of parents believe children would be more open to eating fruit and veg if they knew where their food came from, yet, nearly one in five parents hasn’t attempted to grow their own.
Grow It Yourself (GIY) and innocent have launched their Sow & Grow campaign, encouraging kids to get outside, stick their hands in the mud and get growing! ¼ of UK primary schools will benefit from the campaign - which encourages healthy eating and food education.
Michael Kelly, founder of GIY, shares his top tips to get started with growing: Kids love sowing seeds (or indeed anything that involves getting their hands dirty). Bigger seeds like those from peas, beans, squashes, pumpkins and courgettes are easier for younger children to handle. Basically, the messier the job, the more they will love it
Give kids some autonomy in the veg patch – give them a dedicated raised bed, pot or part of a bed for them to experiment with. Having responsibility for something will encourage them to get involved in the whole process – including cooking - rather than just sitting down at the dinner table to eat the food that mum or dad have cooked
Let them grow what they want to grow - for example, let them grow their own pizza ingredients (tomatoes, basil etc.). This will mean they see the process from start to finish so seeing a cooked plate of food that includes food that they’ve grown themselves won’t seem so daunting if they aren’t the biggest fan of veggies!
Encourage them to grow fruit and vegetables that are fast growing so that they see a quick return – radishes are a good example of this. This will shorten the process for them and will get them excited to try the food they see growing in front of them. They’ll form an attachment and will help the link between what they’re growing and the veggies that appear on their dinner plate
Upcycle - get them to play their part by making things from upcycled materials - e.g. make a little watering can by punching holes in the cap of a water bottle
Encourage them to sample crops out in the veg patch – they will love grazing on sweet carrots, tomatoes, strawberries and peas, and it will help develop their palate. Children love to learn and will be more fascinated by these than packets of beige food that live in the freezer or store cupboard.
Encourage them to make an insect hotel or hedgehog habitat to draw wildlife in to the garden. They’ll begin to learn about the natural life cycles that go on in their own garden.
Teachers can go online to https://innocentsowandgrow.com/ to register for their special (and completely free) growing packs which includes seeds, soil and growing guides.
In association with innocent and GIY.
Research commissioned by innocent.