Croydon pupils were thrilled to see their fruit, veg, jams and herbs snapped up by hundreds of keen shoppers at the annual one-day schools’ marketplace last week.
Delicious potatoes, lush green lettuce, crunchy carrots, ripe rhubarb and more flew off the market stalls set up by the schoolchildren. Many of the schools sold more than £100 worth of goods each, which they will reinvest in their food growing projects.
The 33 pupils from eight local schools were busy pitching, bagging and bartering their wares as soon as the market opened to the public on Thursday 11 July, inside Croydon Clocktower.
The children have spent much of the year cultivating the fruit, vegetables and herbs at their schools in preparation for market day. Their food growing projects are supported by Croydon Council’s Food Flagship programme, which aims to tackle obesity among children and young people. The projects help schoolchildren to better understand where their food comes from and they also learn how to cook nutritious meals from the fresh produce.
The marketplace is an opportunity for the pupils to increase their confidence and develop entrepreneurial skills by encouraging people to bag a bargain. The children also demonstrated their creative skills by selling soups, scented lavender bags, cakes and other items made from the fresh produce.
Shoppers also took home a variety of plants that the children had potted including tomatoes, corn on the cob and strawberries.
Parents and carers benefitted from buying the remaining limited stock at the schools on the following day.
Councillor Jane Avis, cabinet member for families, health and social care: “Croydon’s vibrant annual schools’ marketplace was a phenomenal success. We are supporting schools to help turn the tide on the obesity epidemic in this country. Investment, which has been lacking in the past, in food growing and healthy eating initiatives is vital if we want to reduce the risks of children developing preventable illness like heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers as they grow up.”
Councillor Alisa Flemming, cabinet member for children, young people and learning: “Congratulations to all the schools that took part in this year’s marketplace. Our children are the future and ensuring that we give them the healthiest start in life must be at the forefront of all we do. I am proud of the way Croydon’s young people and schools are helping to lead this agenda. The healthy schools marketplace day is a highlight in my annual calendar. Participation is continuing to grow and very soon we are going to need to expand into a larger space, which is testament to its success. I am already looking forward to next year’s event.”
The young stall holders at the schools marketplace were from:
• Bensham Manor School
• Beulah Junior School
• Broadmead Primary
• Forestdale Primary
• Good Shepherd Primary
• Shirley High
• Smitham Primary
• St Marys Catholic Primary Trust