After a lot of digging, planting and growing, it’s time for young students across three Newcastle-based schools to harvest their school-grown produce and set up a market stall at the Grainger Market in Newcastle city centre as part of the Welly to Belly Project by Food and Drink North East and School Food Matters.
The North East pilot version of the national Young Marketers programme by School Food Matters provides a hands-on opportunity for children from primary schools to grow fruit and vegetables from seed to stall, as well as being a platform to promote food education to schools and communities as a way to support children to live happy and healthy lives.
Delivered by Food and Drink North East (FADNE) with the support of Newcastle City Council, throughout this year students in Year 1 and Year 2 at Gosforth Park First School, Kenton Bar School and Grange First School have had the opportunity to plant fruit and vegetables in their school grounds and nurture the crops over the spring and summer months. Now, it is time for the final stage of the project, which is for the students to harvest their school-grown produce, ready for a special, one-day market at the Grainger Market in Newcastle city centre.
On Thursday 23rd September, the school pupils will bring fresh produce from their school garden and set up shop alongside market traders at the Grainger Market in Newcastle to show off their enterprise skills and to sell their fruit and vegetables to members of the public. All proceeds from the sales of the produce will be donated to FareShare North East.
Chris Jewitt, Founder and CEO of FADNE, says, “There are many future challenges that our communities face which are inseparable to food and drink, from public health and food poverty to a pressing need for jobs, skills and innovation.
“We are trying hard to stimulate the local economy to build an inclusive, celebratory food culture here in the North East. No sticking plaster or short-term initiative will solve what is, fundamentally, the challenge of a generation. These problems can only be tackled head on by empowering young people with a farm-to-fork understanding of food and drink that will produce a knowledgeable and engaged community of mindful consumers, future entrepreneurs and all-round smart cookies!
“To be partnering with both School Food Matters and the Grainger Market not only helps us amplify these messages on a regional level but also helps us celebrate iconic community assets which are hugely important to our sense of self and place.”
Cabinet Member for Development, Neighbourhoods and Transport, Cllr Ged Bell says, “It’s great to see young people growing their own fruit and veg. It’s educational, healthy, saves money and inspires us all.
“This is a great idea for a project and where better for them to sell their produce than in our Grainger Market – Newcastle’s historic market, alongside other seasoned fruit and veg sellers. I hope they enjoy the day and I’m sure their donations will be gratefully received by FareShare North East.”
All members of the public are invited to visit the young traders’ market stall at the Grainger Market on Thursday 23rd September between 11am and 1pm.
For more information about the Welly to Belly project, please visit https://www.fadne.org/welly-to-belly-school-food-matters-project/