Offaly schools invited to apply for free GIY packs

Growing your own food and learning about sustainability

Justin Kelly

Reporter:

Justin Kelly

Email:

justin.kelly@iconicnews.ie

Offaly schools invited to apply for free GIY packs

Offaly schools invited to apply for free GIY packs

GIY and innocent drinks are teaming up to launch the seventh annual food growing initiative, a project that will enable 43,000 primary school children across the country to learn how to grow their own food this spring with ‘The innocent Big Grow'.

Primary schools in Offaly and across the country can apply now for a free Big Grow pack to be delivered to their school via innocentbiggrow.com. This year the pupils will learn how to grow peas, cress and spinach. Each Big Grow pack includes enough soil, growing pots, seeds for a class of thirty along with an expert food growing kit devised by GIY plus details on how to cook and eat the produce that each child has grown.

Over the last six years, innocent and GIY have enabled more than 125,000 school children in Ireland to have their first growing experience in classrooms through the supply of seeds, grow pots, compost and expert growing advice and tips.

Studies show that children who grow their own food are more likely to eat fruits and vegetables and show higher levels of knowledge about nutrition. The children not only learn the science of growing, they also experience the joy of growing and eating their own food. GIY calls this ‘Food Empathy', which is a deeper connection with food, and is proven to lead to a healthier life long-term. This initiative has been so impactful that GIY and innocent are also rolling the project out across a quarter of all primary schools in the UK too.

Speaking at the launch GIY founder Michael Kelly said, "It's a fact that food growers have a better understanding of nutrition and eat more fruit and vegetables. Over the years we have repeatedly seen how even the simplest food growing experience can make children passionate about what they eat, and help them to develop a greater understanding and ‘food empathy'. innocent and GIY have created the big grow to encourage school kids to get outside, stick their hands in some mud and learn about the benefits of healthy eating. We want everyone to have those all-important memories of growing their own food and we know that these are lessons that they continue to benefit them throughout life."

"We have also worked closely with teachers and educational specialists to develop a series of detailed lesson plans that provided credible and engaging content for teachers to use in the classroom," he added.

Brand and Communities Specialist at innocent drinks Ireland, Matthew Gavin, said: “At innocent, we make drinks that not only taste good but also do good too. This growing initiative with GIY has allowed us to create a movement among schools that really does good. We have gotten 125,000 kids to grow their own food over the last six years and now in our seventh year, we will have nearly half of all schools in Ireland growing and learning about the importance of healthy food. When we meet the schools you hear from the kids everything they have learned about growing and how tasty their vegetables were in their dinner. Getting kids to enjoy eating their vegetables, now that’s something a business can be proud of."

The innocent Big Grow will encourage a knowledge of where food comes from, teaching children through a fun, free, learning experience just how easy it is to grow their own greens and enjoy the taste of their own food. It will also drive a series of learning as once schools are registered they can keep a growing blog online and for every school that does, they receive a Big Grow certificate but the most engaged or the ‘Best' Big Grow school will win a trip to Bloom for their class, a trip to Dublin Zoo and €500 worth of gardening equipment for the school; the winning school will be presented with their prizes at Bloom 2018 hopefully by the President. Two runners up prizes of a €300 and a €200 GIY voucher are also up for grabs.

Visit innocentbiggrow.com to register for a free innocent & GIY Big Grow pack which includes everything a class of 30 needs to get growing, this includes seeds for Peas, Cress and Spinach, sowing cups, compost, a teacher's resource booklet which includes lots of fun and educational activities which complement the school curriculum, a wallchart to map weekly growing successes, veggie stickers and a Star Grower Badge for those top growers.

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