In the last six months, we have been back to full speed with all our food education projects, despite the upheaval that covid continues to cause in schools.  February to July is our busiest time. 

We have 19 enthusiastic schools across London engaged in Young Marketeers this year – our tenth year of the programme. We have introduced a new resource hub on our website, with access to an assembly and lots of hints and tips on growing so that schools can make the most of the project.  As schools were closed until mid March, we moved the summer sale to October, so we will now run two sales in October, with schools divided across the two days. FareShare and The Felix Project have joined forces to coordinate their deliveries of food to those in need in London and have produced a fascinating recorded warehouse tour for students to watch in place of a face-to-face visit.  

2021 has seen the launch of Young Marketeers in the Regions and we have had a huge amount of enthusiasm from our regional project officers in Gloucestershire, Solihull, Newcastle and Dorset.  Our local horticulturalists have been able to recommend vegetables that work in their region, as crops that flourish in Dorset do not do so well in Newcastle.  Local market traders have stepped forward in each region to teach pupils the tricks of the market trade.  And we are delighted that BBC Radio Gloucestershire has aired two lengthy pieces about the project, outlining the multiple benefits of food education for children.   

Schools to Market 2021 culminated in a fabulous Market Day on 7 July with students from Richmond, Fulham, Clapham and Gospel Oak all selling a delicious array of chutneys and jams outside branches of Whole Foods. Customer engagement was excellent, with members of the public delighted to see children back outside and engaging in out-of-school activities.  It has been a challenging year for the project as we’ve had to deliver various elements on a bespoke basis: some chutney making sessions being taught face-to-face, whilst others were online; our marketing workshops being delivered both online and face-to-face in school rather than in store; farm trips in the balance due to Covid restrictions etc. Our final challenge was coordinating a Market Day without knowing whether we could set up our stalls at Whole Foods until a week before the day itself!  Despite all of this, the programme has been a great success and it was particularly lovely to see students back out on the farm enjoying the freedom and fresh air. The new gardening element of the programme has also been well received, with our new gardener, Louise, visiting schools to help them make the most of their Rocket Garden plants. We are crossing our fingers for a more straightforward programme delivery next year.  

Our Honeybee Programme for 2021 is now well underway. We received over 40 expressions of interest from schools keen to be involved in the programme. Narrowing this down to 20 was a hard task as all were worthy recipients, but we settled on a final list of very deserving schools. Fitting all elements of the programme (a bee-friendly planting session with Cath the gardener, a beekeeper visit to school, and a visit to the Holland Park Ecology Centre) into the final half term of the academic year has been a huge challenge, but we have made it, with just a few schools still to receive sessions when they return in September. The new Ecology Centre element of the programme has been a tremendous success, with children donning bee suits to see inside the hives – an absolute high point for all the students.  


Donations from the public allowed the Breakfast Boxes programme to restart for summer half term in June, and we directed the support to Tower Hamlets for the first time. The council provided matched funding from its Covid Support Fund, enabling us to deliver 28,000 nutritious breakfasts to families across 44 local schools. 

Our Healthy Zones programme is finally underway after a stop-start year, and the team is delighted to be back in schools. We’ve supported seven primary schools in Southwark and Lambeth to improve the food offer in their breakfast clubs, switching croissants and pancakes to fruit bowls and scrambled eggs. The Project Officers have been trialling innovative techniques to encourage the children to try new foods, whilst offering the club leads the support and equipment that they need to sustain the menu changes. We’ve also been working closely with three primaries to develop and implement school food policies and have been overjoyed with the level of student engagement to create vox pops and deliver assemblies.  

We are delighted to have run two holiday programmes this August, one at Willow Tree Primary School in Ealing, and one at St Mary’s Primary School Battersea, funded by Abel and Cole and Belazu.  The programme provided a freshly cooked hot meal for the children every day, and lots of fun activities to get children out and about during the summer.