• Nearly 50,000 school children have helped grow produce to sell at London’s oldest fruit and veg market
• Money raised has provided almost 50,000 meals for families in need
On Tuesday 5th and Wednesday 6th October, 100 children from 20 London primary schools* will be setting out their stalls and selling fruit and vegetables grown from seed at Borough Market’s Harvest Sale. In a welcome return to the live event which had to be held in the schools’ playgrounds during the pandemic, every £1 raised by the school children will provide six meals for vulnerable families across the capital.
The Young Marketeers programme, run as a partnership with campaigning food education charity School Food Matters, is now in its tenth year at Borough Market, and the Harvest Sale has seen 1,617 children taking their produce from seed to stall. To date, nearly 50,000 children from over 182 London schools have helped grow fruit and vegetables at their school to raise money for food distribution charities, FareShare and The Felix Project, providing almost 50,000 meals for those in need.
Borough Market traders shared their selling secrets with the budding stallholders and schools were supported with growing tips from experienced horticulturists. Borough Market’s traders’ top tips for being a successful stallholder can be seen here – from creating eye-catching displays to hygiene and customer relations:
The recent publication of the National Food Strategy highlighted the need for better food education. The strategy recommended a new Eat and Learn Initiative to reframe food education as a valuable subject in its own right. The experience of ten years of the Young Marketeers programme has demonstrated the value of learning about food production, cooking skills and sustainability.
“The project has really empowered the children and excited them about gardening. It has also taught them the value of good food,” said Pat Banton, Teacher, St Francis Catholic Primary School.
“Being able to give children the chance to connect with learning about where their food comes from is the biggest outcome, combined with entrepreneurship. It has been a great experience for the students,” said Holly Martin, School Gardener, Manorfield Primary School.
Star of Ready Steady Cook, British/Indian chef and food writer, Romy Gill MBE, is supporting the programme. Romy said: “Getting children involved in growing and cooking food from a young age is so important for their wellbeing. Many of the children involved don’t have gardens of their own, so being able to grow fruit and vegetables in their school and then learn how to cook with them and bring them to market are such valuable skills.”
Kate Howell, Communications and Engagement Director, Borough Market, said: “As a charitable trust that works for the benefit of the community, we think it’s important that children of all ages learn about produce, cooking and trading. Over the past decade, our Young Marketeers programme has given thousands of pupils the chance to enjoy learning about seasonality and food production by growing their own fruit and veg at school. By coming to the Market to sell the produce they’ve grown and the products they’ve made from it, many of these children have picked up other valuable skills, including cooking, marketing and selling. By giving them the opportunity to interact with customers and learn tips from our traders, we’re hoping to inspire the next generation of food entrepreneurs.”
Stephanie Slater, Founder and Chief Executive of School Food Matters, said: “For ten years, School Food Matters and Borough Market have provided a framework for schools to teach children about food, from seed to market stall. Local primary schools have grown over 45 different varieties of fruit and vegetables with great pride and enthusiasm. We want every child in every school to enjoy quality food education, so we support the National Food Strategy’s recommendation to launch an Eat and Learn initiative to reframe food education as a subject worthy of the same attention as English and maths."
Notes to Editors
The Harvest Sale will take place between 11am (when the market trading bell will be rung) and 1.00pm at Borough Market, 8 Southwark St, London SE1 1TL on Tuesday 5th and Wednesday 6th October 2021
Spokespeople will be available for interview, including Kate Howell, Director of Communications and Engagement, Borough Market, Stephanie Slater (Founder/CEO School Food Matters), and children/teachers involved in the project. TV chef Romy Gill will be available for photography/interview from 11am on Wednesday 6th October.
Professional photography from the event will also be available to picture desks.
*20 primary school children from the following local schools will be selling fruit and vegetables grown at school to raise money for The Felix Project:
St James C of E Primary (Southwark)
Surrey Docks Farm (Southwark)
Robert Browning Primary (Southwark)
John Ruskin Primary (Southwark)
Trafalgar Infant School (Richmond)
Phoenix Primary (Southwark)
Charlton Manor Primary (Greenwich)
St Francis Primary (Southwark)
Holy Trinity C of E Primary (Lambeth)
Jessop Primary School (Lambeth)
Snowsfields Primary (Southwark)
Manorfield Primary (Tower Hamlets)
Tower Bridge Primary (Southwark)
Sudbourne Primary (Lambeth)
Charles Dickens Primary (Southwark)
Brunswick Park Primary (Southwark)
Cyril Jackson Primary (Tower Hamlets)
Richard Atkins Primary (Lambeth)
Harris Primary Academy (Southwark)
About the ‘Young Marketeers’ programme
Young Marketeers at Borough Market is a partnership between School Food Matters and Borough Market. The programme has been running since 2011 and gives primary, and in some cases secondary school students, first-hand experience of running a market stall, whilst building their food knowledge – from how it is grown to how to cook it. As all funds raised go to food distribution charities, FareShare and The Felix Project, the children also gain an understanding of food poverty and waste. Participating schools receive instruction from horticultural experts as well as advice from Borough Market on how to sell their produce.
Total number of students involved in selling at Borough Market - 1,617
Total number of students reached by the programme - 49,280
Total number of schools involved - 182
Total amount raised for FareShare and The Felix Project - £8,393.66
Total number of meals for vulnerable families (£1x6) - 49,204
Borough Market is a source of quality British and international produce, but it is more than just a place to buy or sell food. It’s a place where people come to connect, to share food and awaken their senses. Borough has long been synonymous with food markets and as far back as 1014, and probably much earlier, London Bridge attracted traders selling grain, fish, vegetables and livestock. In the 13th century traders were relocated to what is now Borough High Street and a market has existed there ever since. Borough Market’s mission is to continue to provide a world class food market at Borough for the community of London and beyond. Borough Market is the only fully independent market in London. It is owned by a charitable trust and run by a board of volunteer trustees. The trust is committed to supporting the local community around Borough Market. We regularly run community events, free cookery demonstrations and we support local community projects and schemes.
School Food Matters exists to teach children about food and to improve access to healthy, sustainable food during their time at school. We provide fully funded food education programmes to schools. Our experience delivering these programmes informs and strengthens our campaigns, bringing the voices of children, parents and teachers to government policy.
Romy is a British/Indian chef, food writer, author and broadcaster. She was the owner and head chef at Romy’s Kitchen. In 2016 she was appointed an MBE in the Queen’s 90th birthday honours list. Romy is now one of the chefs on the new series of Ready Steady Cook on BBC One. She also appears on Packed Lunch, BBC The One show, BBC Country life, BBC Celebrity MasterChef, The Hairy Bikers’ Comfort Food, James Martin’s Saturday Morning, Sunday Brunch, and much more. Romy is also a regular on BBC Radio 4’s Food Programme. She is the author of ZAIKA – Vegan recipes from India, and regularly contributes to Sunday Times and Telegraph and international publications, including The New York Times. Romy was invited to speak at the Mad Symposium in 2018 and recently was invited to cook at the prestigious James Beard Foundation in New York. Romy is writing her next book The Himalayan Trail - Kashmir to Leh, out spring next year. Romy just finished filming a small series of films with BBC food with seasonal vegetables.