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Eric Robson, the presenter of Gardener’ Question Time on BBC Radio 4 is encouraging schools across Cumbria to get gardening and enter Booths Grow Your Own Competition to win a top prize of £1,000.
Over 20 primary schools have already registered to take part in the competition but time is running out for other schools to get their entries in for the contest, which challenges local schoolchildren to get set and grow their own fruit and vegetables.
For the first time, the winner of the regional retailer’s annual school gardening contest will become an official supplier to its local Booths store for the day.
Schoolchildren will be able to sell their winning harvest of summer produce to customers to raise money for their school.
The victorious school will also collect a £1,000 cheque to spend on gardening or cooking equipment for use in lessons. Three runners up will each receive £150.
Every primary school in Booths’ four home counties of Lancashire, Cumbria, Yorkshire and Cheshire can take part in the competition that is designed to encourage pupils to grow their own five a day.
Eric Robson, presenter of Gardener’ Question Time on BBC Radio 4, one of the judges and a strong supporter of growing your own, says
“Growing your own is the real flavour of the season. Sales of vegetable seeds continue to outstrip flower seeds, a trend that began two or three years ago.
“There was a time when vegetable growing was seen as the domain of wrinkly old allotmenteers. No longer. Many children now have or help on allotment plots.
“A huge number of schools are turning over some of their grounds to vegetable growing because teachers and pupils alike realise the educational and social benefits of getting closer to nature. This competition is a great opportunity for schools in the county to give their young gardeners something to aim for, with the chance of a great prize at the end.”
Now in its third year, the Grow Your Own competition has proved a blooming success with schools across the region digging in to take part.
Booths’ Matthew Bruno said: “It is important that all children have a healthy, balanced diet and growing fruit and vegetables is a fantastic way for children of all ages to learn about how things grow and where their food comes from.
“Booths is keen to support schools and encourage sourcing local produce wherever we can, so we hope that as many schools as will enter our competition and start growing their own.”
Each school can take their pick of the crops to grow whatever produce they choose.
Judges will be lookingfor the school that harvests the finest fruit and vegetables, uses recycling imaginatively and presents their results to the judges in the best way.
One finalist will be selected from each of the four counties. They will then be invited to bring some of their best produce to an awards ceremony at Booths head office in Prestonon Monday 12 July.
More than 60 schools registered to take party in last year’s Grow Your Own competition and the winner was Lancaster Lane Community Primary School in Leyland, Lancashire.
Pupils at the school impressed judges by coming up with innovative ideas that stretched from the garden into the classroom. The children used their produce in science and cookery classes. As well as bringing in some examples of their produce for the presentation, they also made a delicious broad bean dip from beans they had picked that morning.
They also worked hard to recycle products by sowing seeds in cardboard tubes and paper pots and composting garden waste.
Schools will then need to submit their entries by Monday 28th June inthe form of a short creative photo or video diary showing the children planting their gardens and growing the fruit and vegetables.
For more information about Booths and its products go to www.booths.co.uk