BY KATIE - MYGREENPOD, 27 May '15

Trees for Cities project helps kids grow, harvest and eat good food

Diet-related illnesses cost the NHS £10 billion every year, and Public Health England estimates that 28% of children between two and 15 years old are obese.

To tackle obesity, food poverty and lack of access to green space all in one go, the Edible Playgrounds project from Trees for Cities transforms outdoor areas in school grounds into fully functional food growing spaces, giving children the opportunity to grow, harvest and eat good food.

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Grow your own!

Edible Playgrounds get children living in urban areas excited about growing good and understanding where food comes from.

The charity has already created over 25 Edible Playgrounds in London and is expanding the programme out across the UK this year.

‘With 37 % of children between the ages of 5 and 12 not eating enough every day and 20% obese on leaving primary school, more and more schools are now educating their children on how food is grown and on making healthy eating choices.

‘Edible Playgrounds shows children how rewarding it is to spend time outdoors and gets them excited about where their food comes from.’

Sharon Johnson, Chief Executive of Trees for Cities

Food for thought

  • 33% of UK primary school pupils believe pasta is made from meat and that cheese comes from plants
  • 10% believe potatoes grow on trees
  • 25% think fish fingers come from chicken or pigs

British Nutrition Foundation, 2013

How it works

Trees for Cities conducts a full survey of the school grounds, helps with fundraising, consults and engages parents, teachers and pupils as well as designing and building the Edible Playground. But the help doesn’t stop there.

For a full it provides monthly training sessions for teachers to help them embed the playground into the school’s curriculum – turning it into an outdoor classroom. All with the help of a designated Edible Playground Coordinator.

The benefits

Research shows that Edible Playgrounds work; 72% of the participating schools reported that children were more likely to choose fruits over less healthy snacks, while 94% of schools said that pupils had improved attitudes towards healthy living.

Visit the Edible Playgrounds website to watch an Edible Playground in action at Rotherfield Primary School in Islington, read case studies from schools and access lots of information, including how much space it will take, how much it will cost, what resources are needed and the benefits of creating an Edible Playground.

Schools signed up to the Edible Playground project will get access to the Hub area on the site, where they will be able to get all the growing and educational resources they need to look after their Edible Playground and use it as an effective and engaging outdoor classroom to teach through gardening.

The Edible Playgrounds website provides information to schools considering their own Edible Playground and to businesses interested in supporting the project.