??????????????????????????????? One of the best ways to access  really fresh food is to grow your  own. If you’re lucky enough to have  a large garden or allotment then  this can be very easy. However, it is  also possible to grow in containers  in a small back yard or even in a  window box or on a kitchen  windowsill.

Growing your own doesn’t require  a huge amount of knowledge, but it certainly helps if you feel confident in what you are doing and you have growing successes to keep you motivated! One of the best ways to achieve this is to get children growing fruit and vegetables from an early age.

Not all children have the opportunity to do this at home so an increasing number of schools are establishing food growing areas to get children involved. Local not-for-profit organization, LESS, has been supporting schools to grow food for the last five years. During this time we have learned that most schools are very enthusiastic and keen to engage pupils in food growing. However it often isn’t a priority as staff are very busy and may not have the time, skills or confidence to take a lead.

LESS has therefore established a ‘Gardener in Residence‘ service to offer qualified horticultural staff to work closely with local schools to embed food growing throughout the school – engaging school staff, parents and pupils in the whole process. We place equal importance on ensuring that pupils enjoy and learn from getting involved, and that the quality and quantity of food produced is good. The food grown is used by the schools in school dinners, cookery clubs or sold at low cost to parents to raise ongoing funds to buy seeds and compost. Most importantly, all pupils involved in the projects get to taste the food they have helped to grow and nurture.

Working on a regular long-term basis with schools has proved to be very successful in enthusing students, with many of them telling us they have encouraged their parents to start growing at home. However, it does require funding to provide the expert support on a regular basis.

This is where you can help us by voting for our latest project in the Aviva Community Fund. This grant is decided partly by a public vote and later by a panel of experts. Our proposal would enable us to work with three new schools for a year.

To help us support us, place your vote by visiting s.coop/rowing

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