A Food Growing in Schools Task Force was launched at the RHS Chelsea Flower show by the Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman, on Monday, 23 May, keeping the topic of school lunches high on the agenda.
The RHS Campaign for School Gardening has been promoting the importance for children to grow plants. When they issued a report in June 2010, it had found a variety of gardening benefits, amongst those were working in a team, more confidence and better self-esteem.
However this task force will focus on growing food in schools and it has referred to RHS research showing that children in food growing schools were eating more vegetables and fruit.
The Task Force includes Blue Peter gardener Chris Collins, former England rugby union captain Lawrence Dallaglio, The Sun’s gardening correspondent Peter Seabrook, the Royal Horticultural Society, the Women’s Institute, and Morrison’s supermarket, DEFRA said.
Caroline Spelman explained how the team will encourage schools to participate.
"The Task Force will look at schools that are already running successful growing schemes and find out what’s preventing other schools following their lead," Caroline Spelman said.
She explained that the Defra research would provide them with the results to back up their campaign.
While at Chelsea, Ms Spelman visited a garden created by school children and reinforced the message,
"Getting kids growing their own fruit and vegetables not only teaches them where food comes from and the importance of eating healthily, but can also teach them enterprise skills and build community spirit," she said.
Caroline Spelman's words hark back to 2007, when a related campaign run by the group Think Food and Farming put a figure of 20% as the number of children who had never picked and then eaten fruit. It also drew attention to the millions of children who have never visited the countryside.
Related: School Food Matters is a charity run by Stephanie Wood. It has information about a London schools' garden competition, to enter before June 3.