School Foodshare Guide
From Foodshare wiki
Welcome to the Foodshare Guide for Schools. This guide is constantly being updated with new resources and ideas, so please bookmark the page and return frequently!
What is Foodshare?
If you haven't already, please read the Foodshare overview for Schools: http://www.foodshare.co.uk/school
To register with Foodshare, sign up here: http://www.foodshare.co.uk/people/signup
Please make sure you enter your own name (not the school name) in the First Name field. Under "I grow at my", select school. In the next few weeks, you will be able to add your school as a "Foodshare Group" - we will email as soon as this is ready.
What Is The "Growing to Give" project?
The Foodshare 'Growing to Give' project is specifically designed for schools, to help teach children the importance of growing and sharing within the local community. Getting started is really simple. If you already have a growing area at school (such as a school allotment), you can simply dedicate one or more beds to grow for a local charity that accepts food donations. If you do not have a growing area set up, it is often a case of getting agreement to create a space where you can start. You can always start small and expand this area as the project grows and the school and local community really start to understand the value of the project.
How Do We Get Started?
So you've got your growing area (at least planned!)... Here's a step-by-step guide to getting started:
1) Find your Charity
If you already have a local charity in mind, simply speak to them (or the cook in the kitchen) about whether they are able to accept fresh food donations (we haven't heard of one that won't to date!). You can also search for charities in your area that have already registered on the Foodshare Charity Map here: http://www.foodshare.co.uk/charities/map.
If you grow lots of food, you can always support more than one charity. We recommend choosing a charity nearby, preferably within walking distance, so that it is easy to make regular produce deliveries. We also want the project to be as low-carbon as possible, so driving long distances to make specific food deliveries takes away some of the benefits of the donations reducing the charity's food miles.
As you will be growing food specifically for the charity, ask them what they would most appreciate. For example, it is no use growing huge marrows if they are unable to use them. Most charities will accept anything you have, but if they are specialist care homes there may be some produce which is preferred.
If you need help, why not try approaching a local company, St Peter's School in Leatherhead, Surrey did. Staff from Unilever visited the school and by donating time and materials, built them raised Foodshare beds. Find out more about their successful Foodshare project here.
2) Create your Foodshare Sign
Visit our Resource Section (http://www.foodsharenetwork.org/wiki/index.php?title=Foodshare_Resources) and download the Foodshare sign, which you can adapt to include your school name and the charity you are growing for. Place this sign either by the bed or the allotment where you are growing the produce, so visitors, parents and most importantly the pupils can see the Foodshare area. Alternatively why not create your own with the pupils!
3) Launch the Foodshare Scheme at school! Tell everyone what you are doing, for example in the school newsletter. A Foodshare assembly is also a good idea. Read the Milton Primary School case study below for lots more info and ideas. When launching the project, you can use the opportunity to ask for seed donations from parents. It is great to create a Foodshare display area which shows photos, updates ad the amount of food donated to date. You could even set a target for the school for amount of Food donations(with weight or equivalent supermarket costs - see The Foodshare Totaliser below)
4) Get Growing!
As the project starts, it is a great idea to get the pupils to document their progress with photos and even an diary or blog. We have found it is great to get photos of children delivering the food and you could even ask the cook to photograph the recipients eating a meal from the food, as this is a wonderful pictorial timelime which will make the children really proud of what they have achieved.
The Foodshare Totaliser
When the harvests start coming, any produce needs to be weighed and entered into the Foodshare Totaliser (coming soon) before it is delivered to the charity. The Foodshare Totaliser will collate how much you have grown over time and instantly show you the current supermarket prices for the food you have grown. The school can therefore keep track of how much their food donations are worth as a monetary donation. This is money you will have reduced the charity's food bill by which is same as giving a cash donation. Weighing, recording and tracking the harvest is a great way to bring arithmetic skills into the project. You can also use the Totaliser to measure against any donation targets you might want to set for the project each year.
Communicating, Local Media and Ofsted
Once the growing is in full flow, remember to update teaches, parents and the school in general on how the project is going. There is an excellent opportunity to tell local newspapers (search for yours here or check this list), TV and radio media to promote what you are doing within your local community (one school has already been on local BBC, ITV and most of the local papers, as well as Primary Times and more!). We have found that to date all three have been really excited about the project and is a wonderful way to show how the school is integrating within the local community. Make sure too that you show your Foodshare growing area to Ofsted Inspectors. In their report, there is a specific section scored on "community cohesion" and Foodshare is an excellent demonstration of this, as well as many other areas.
Don't forget to talk to the communications person at the charity as they are very keen to write and send out press releases to local media as well, and often a joint effort can be more effective.
Milton Primary School - A Case Study
Milton Primary School had already established a school allotment and launched their Foodshare scheme in their weekly school newsletter. In the newsletter they also encouraged parents to create a Foodshare Bed at home to grow with the children. They set up a Donation Station (Foodshare collection container) at the school allotment for any produce harvested during the day, and also for parents to drop of fresh fruit and veg from their own gardens at the beginning or end of school. At the end of each school day, the Donation Station was checked by pupils (Year 6 "Head Gardeners") on a rota. Donations are weighed and recorded and the food is delivered to the Hospice Kitchen.
"The Foodshare Plant"
Another innovative idea is for every child in the school to grow a seedling, which once established, can be taken home for the child to continue to nurture with their families. A Foodshare sticker is placed on every pot, and each child gives their plant a name (which is a wonderful way to create ownership). It makes sense for the vegetable to be small enough to grow on a windowsill (see this guide). Lettuce is a good option. A cherry tomato plant, or sweet red pepper also works. Another option is growing potatoes in a tub (full instructions here). A short "Caring for your Foodshare plant" instructions sheet is also a good idea to include. Fifty percent of the harvest is donated to the School Foodshare Donation Station, and the other 50% is enjoyed by the child and their family so they can really appreciate the fruits of their labour and the taste of home-grown produce. This is also help encourage parents to take a more active role in "growing their own" if they have never tried it before.
The school formed a partnership with Cambridge Cookery School for a "No Waste" Foodshare Cooking Day. Here's how it works:
- The children have decided to create a healthy vegetable soup and are dedicating a bed in which to grow vegetables for the event. The chef at the kitchen has given the children an overview of the types and quantity of vegetables they need to grow. These are sown in early spring. - At the end of June, on the morning of the "Grow-Cook-Share Day", the children harvest the vegetables and bring them to the kitchen. - A professional Chef then teaches the children how to prepare the vegetables for a soup. The children then make the soup. The "No Waste" theme means that even the vegetable peelings will be used, by being made into tasty tempura fritter! - The soup will then be delivered to Jimmy's Night Shelter, feeding over 30 homeless people!
Our School - A Case Study...
Please do email us (http://www.foodshare.co.uk/contact-us) about your school project as we would like to share and inspire others with what you have done. We are particularly keen to find out what worked for you, any updates to this guide that you would recommend and any great ideas you incorporated within your Foodshare project.