School Food Matters Garden comes to RHS Chelsea Flower Show

15 November 2022
A children’s garden with a very important message has been designed by Harry Holding for charity School Food Matters at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2023 (23 -27 May) sponsored by Project Giving Back.

School Food Matters, the charity which teaches children about food and campaigns for healthy, sustainable school meals, is partnering with designer Harry Holding to create an edible, climate change-adapted garden, with youngsters at its heart, for RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2023.

Raising vital questions about healthy eating and the future of food production in a changing climate, the garden will highlight why children need to be represented in these discussions. At the end of show week, the School Food Matters Garden will continue to provide social and environmental benefits when it is repurposed to create two pocket gardens - one at a school in London, the other at a school in the north of England – for children to nurture and enjoy for years to come.

The School Food Matters Garden will be in the All About Plants category at the world-famous event and is being funded by Project Giving Back. It will celebrate 15 years of School Food Matters food education programmes which have reached 200,000 children across the UK.

School Food Matters Chief Executive Stephanie Slater said: “Over the past 15 years we’ve helped hundreds of schools across the UK to create beautiful gardens for their children to enjoy.

“The impact this has cannot be underestimated. Many children do not have gardens at home, have no understanding of where food comes from and little opportunity to connect with fresh food by growing their own fruit and veg. Spending time in a garden, getting muddy and seeing how plants grow has a remarkable impact on self-confidence, as well as an inclination to eat more fruit and veg. For some it provides a much-needed moment of peace away from the noise and pressures of the classroom.”

“Our garden celebrates all the pleasure, and physical and mental health benefits children get from time spent in nature. It echoes our mission to give children the knowledge and understanding they need to feed themselves and their future families, while caring for the planet.”

“We are very grateful to Project Giving Back and to Harry Holding for this unique opportunity to showcase our vision on an international stage, and to Whole Kids Foundation for their invaluable support. We know our team and all the schools and partners we work with will relish the opportunity. We are excited to follow the garden’s progress, and to see it in all its glory at Chelsea.”

Designed as an immersive, forageable and naturalistic landscape, the garden will entice children to explore, inspiring them with a variety of edible, climate-adapted plants along the way. The aim is to stimulate their senses and encourage them to learn about food in nature, with over 80% of the planting being edible.  The paths lead to a central area featuring low walls that will be covered in quotes from children – a place to air how much nature means to them.

Harry Holding, director of Harry Holding Studio, said: “With the cost of living crisis and rising food prices, small-scale food production is on the increase within the nation’s gardens. This does not mean you have to sacrifice beauty for practicality and convert your outdoor space into regimented productive rows - edible plants can be incorporated into a gorgeous garden too. Our School Food Matters Garden will show how these edible and forageable plants can be used creatively, as well as capture the importance of children engaging with planting and growing, and the huge pleasure this brings.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

  • For more information or to request interviews please contact the School Food Matters media team by emailing press@schoolfoodmatters.org
  • For information on Harry Holding or detail on the garden design please contact Emma Mason on emma@emmamasonpr.co.uk 07762 117433
  • School Food Matters (SFM) exists to teach children about food and campaigns for healthy, sustainable school meals. The charity provides fully funded food education programmes to schools and uses its 15 years’ experience delivering these programmes to inform and strengthen its campaigns, bringing the voices of children, parents and teachers to government policy.
  • Harry Holding is a multi-award-winning designer whose design practice Harry Holding Studio, has sustainability and resilience at the core of everything they do. All the way from innovative design concepts to aftercare practices they aim to minimise environmental impact and carbon footprint. Sourcing materials locally and designing resilient plant communities to create rich, biodiverse ecosystems, their gardens are designed to last and enhance the lives of their clients and the natural world. Find out more here.
  • Project Giving Back (PGB) is a unique grant-making scheme that provides funding for gardens for good causes at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. PGB was launched in May 2021 in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and its effect on UK charitable fundraising. It will fund gardens inspired by a range of good causes at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2022, 2023 and 2024. PGB will fund 15 gardens at RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2023. In total, PGB plans to fund 42 gardens at the show from 2022 – 2024. (Applications for 2022 and 2023 are now closed.)
  • Whole Kids Foundation: Whole Kids Foundation (WKF) is a charitable organisation based in Austin Texas that provides children with access to healthy food through partnerships with schools, educators and charities. It was set up in 2011 by Whole Foods Market, the organic and natural food retailer, to help address the growing health problems relating to bad nutrition amongst young people.  Passionate about reaching beyond the retail environment to help create healthier communities, WKF funds a range of school projects and has programmes running wherever there are Whole Food Market stores.  In the UK their partner is SFM, a charity with a 15-year track record of delivering food education projects in schools, and campaigning for all children to have access to healthy sustainable school food.

Children’s quotes:

“It would be nice to have a quiet place to be during school time or in breaks or lunches.”

Elise, Y10, Eltham Hill School, Greenwich

“I like to see nature and everything grow. I like to see the colours. I like to see the evolution of earth.”

Trey, Y2, St Paul’s Primary School, Camden

“Did you know that the pea pods grow out of the flower? They look a bit like a chrysalis.”

Jack, Reception, Edith Neville Primary, Kings Cross

“I was scared of all the insects but then at the end I held a worm!”

Simrat, Y4, Netley Centre for Autism