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Ten years of RHS Campaign for School Gardening



October 3, 2017

Photo RHS/Luke MacGregor

Using vegies they’ve grown, UK kids will cook up a storm for the RHS Big Soup Share – a week of events marking ten years of the Campaign for School Gardening.

More than1,000 schools and youth groups across the UK will show off their gardening skills, with over 75,000 green-fingered 3 to 18-year-olds harvesting their produce from the garden, devising delicious soup recipes and cooking up a feast to share with their classmates, friends, family and local community.

The Royal Horticultural Society’s (RHS) Big Soup Share runs from 2 to 8 October 2017, celebrating the tenth anniversary of the RHS Campaign for School Gardening.

A Columbia Primary School pupil holds a pan of soup in the garden, ahead of the RHS Campaign for School Gardening “Big Soup Share”. RHS/Luke MacGregor

Since its launch in 2007, the RHS Campaign for School Gardening has called for all children to be given the chance to garden, to support their learning and wellbeing and inspire them in future careers. Ten years on, 69% of primary schools and 79% of secondary schools are now signed-up to receive free resources and support from the RHS.

A survey of these schools to mark the milestone, found that 96% reported gardening had enabled young people to connect with nature, and 83% and 82% of schools felt it had improved the mental and physical wellbeing of young people respectively. Other benefits cited were helping youngsters to develop a wide range of skills (91%) and actively green the environment (89%).

While some schools are starting to feel the pinch, with 61% of schools experiencing funding challenges, two in every five schools (40%) are using their garden as a source of income; selling plants to plough money back into the school.

This enterprising spirit also transcends to finding space to garden, with schools making use not only of small plots of land but hanging baskets and window boxes (22%) and indoor growing spaces (14%) too.

With this in mind, the RHS is calling on every school to get growing this school year.

A Columbia Primary School pupil harvests tomatoes in their garden. RHS/Luke MacGregor


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