Story by Stephanie Wood

London schools sell home-grown produce to Waitrose shoppers

Schools across London, including those from some of the most central areas of the capital, will be selling home grown produce to the public in Waitrose branches this week. Nearly twenty primary and secondary schools will participate in the School Food Matters ‘School Produce Sale’ to sell fruit, vegetables and even eggs produced within their own school grounds to Waitrose customers and their local community.

The sale, taking place on Thursday 14 July from 11 am to 3pm, or until the schools’ stock lasts, will be hosted at ten Waitrose branches in London. This is the second year Waitrose has teamed up with School Food Matters, the charity behind the ‘School Produce Sale’. The project was successfully piloted last year with just two schools selling produce at Waitrose in Kingston Upon Thames. Inspired by this venture, more schools were keen to get involved.

Managing Director of Waitrose, Mark Price, says: “We are very pleased to give these students the chance to raise some money for their school growing projects. Growing at school gives gardening access to many children without green space at home, and it encourages them to eat well and eat more broadly – a value shared by all of us at Waitrose. It’s also a great time to enjoy the very best of British produce while it’s in season. We wish the schools every success!”

School Food Matters founder, Stephanie Wood, says: “This is a fantastic enterprise experience for students who have been working hard all year on their school veg patch. The schools taking part have all shown real commitment to helping children understand where their food comes from and are linking food growing activities to parts of the curriculum such as science, geography, IT, art and enterprise. In some cases they even grow enough fruit and veg for the school meal service.”

Rosie Boycott, Chair of London Food, said: “Food growing in schools is proven to alter children’s diets. It’s an easy and effective investment to improve children’s health, bring communities together and brighten up London. I strongly believe it should be mandatory that all schools have a place and the encouragement to grow food, which is why Capital Growth is helping London's schools to cultivate inspirational fruit and veg gardens.

I salute all the schools participating in this brilliant project. What better way to celebrate their efforts and promote entrepreneurial skills than by having the opportunity to sell their produce to harvest money needed to keep growing fresh, delicious food.”

School Food Matters core goal is for every child to enjoy fresh sustainable food at school and to understand where their food comes from. School Food Matters does this by urging local authorities to look at the way they source food for school meals and by promoting food education through cooking, growing, and visits to farms.

School Food Matters can support schools by sharing excellent growing ideas from schools across London and can help with funding through its links with Waitrose Community Matters. School Food Matters is also part of the working group for Capital Growth: the campaign to find 2012 new food growing spaces in London by 2012.

The ten Waitrose branches taking part are Balham, Barbican, East Sheen, Fulham Broadway, Holloway Road, Kingston Upon Thames, Northwood, Raynes Park, Ruislip and South Harrow. Each branch will host up to two schools from 11am-3pm on Thursday 14th July. All proceeds from the sale will go directly back into the school’s food growing project.

For more information:

For all press enquiries please contact , Hannah Chance, Waitrose Press Office, on Tel: 07506 452 222 or email

For a full list of participating schools please contact: School Food Matters, on Tel: 020 8878 8333, email, www.

About the author: Stephanie Wood is the Director of School Food Matters.

Additional notes from Stephanie Wood: 19 schools took part across 10 branches of Waitrose in London, 1,247 children were directly involved, 41 types of vegetables, fruit and herbs were grown for sale, Beetroot was the most popular vegetable sold, 952 School Food Matters recycled paper bags were used, Food growing was linked to 11 different curriculum subjects, A total of £2,137.59 was taken on the day, Highest sales were taken by Cardinal Wiseman School – £312.33, Largest area devoted to food growing was the equivalent of two football pitches, Smallest area devoted to food growing was a wheelbarrow full of strawberries.