GIY and innocent aim to get 50,000 children growing their own food in classrooms across the country this spring with The Big Grow.
Primary school teachers nationwide can now sign up for a free food growing kit for their students at www.innocentdrinks.ie/big-grow which comes with three packs of different seeds including mixed salad, peas and radish along with enough compost, growing cups, instructions, and a fun lesson plans for the entire class.
Today kicks off the eleventh year of The Big Grow, a campaign started by innocent and GIY to get kids growing their own veg at school and helping thousands of schools to get free growing resources. The Big Grow has so far helped 1.6 million children to start growing their own veg, and this year 50,000 children in Ireland will have an opportunity to learn how to grow food in their classrooms.
Launching the 2022 initiative founder of GIY Michael Kelly said: “Getting involved with ‘The Big Grow’ is a brilliant opportunity and often for many children it is their introduction to growing food. It is a life skill that we now know after 11 years of this initiative stays with many children as they have gone on to create gardening clubs at school and even outside of school in their local community. Each year it is one of the most popular initiatives that we run at GIY and we hope that 2022 will be no different so we’re encouraging all teachers to get their class registered as soon as possible!.”
Brand manager for innocent drinks Ireland, Laura O’Connell added: “We’re big fans of fruit and veg here at innocent and we’re really proud of The Big Grow seeing as it helps kids to grow their own. Over the last eleven years, we’ve made it our mission to reach over half the primary school kids in Ireland with this healthy-eating project, so we are delighted to continue ‘The Big Grow’ again this year and get even more kids excited about veg.”
Each school taking part in The Big Grow will be encouraged to share their growing experiences online in order to be in with a chance of being crowned The Big Grow Champions of 2022 and be awarded the fantastic prize of a school garden revamp. Teachers will also be provided with a resource pack to assist them in guiding their budding growers through the process with lesson plans, growing activities, growth charts, quizzes and more. The guide also includes radish, pea and mixed salad recipes so that the children can enjoy the complete ‘plot to plate’ experience.
The winners of the 2021 Big Grow were Carriganima National School in County Cork. The teacher of the winning class, Lavinia Sheahan said, “Our two-teacher school took to this challenge with gusto. They all absolutely loved the experience of growing their own food and learned a lot through the process. They were excellent at growing their seeds from scratch and transplanting everything outside to the raised beds successfully. We also used a lot of recycled materials for our grow cartons. 2021 wasn’t the easiest year for children at school so this outdoor activity offered us a wonderful slice of normality and learning in a fun way together.”
Teachers can sign up for a free food growing kit at innocentdrinks.ie/big-grow. Registration is still open while stocks last, and kits will be delivered to schools in the first week of March 2022