Last summer we were invited to Innocent Fruit Towers for a blog event aimed at encouraging children to eat more fruit and veg. Last week, we were invited back again – this time to help us learn more about growing our own fruit and veg as part of Innocent’s Sow & Grow campaign which they are launching in schools this spring in collaboration with the charity Grow It Yourself.
Most people who know me well will know that growing any kind of plant is not my strong point but hopefully my children will grow up being a little more green-fingered than I am! They certainly enjoyed planting cress, peas and spinach seeds in pots to take home and grow. Jessica was a little over-enthusiastic with watering them but they seem to have survived it!
One thing I learned while we were planting the seeds is that peas and spinach are quite easy to grow in pots on windowsills. I have grown cress a few times but never attempted anything else. Finding out that growing your own is not necessarily as difficult as I thought it might be will certainly encourage me to do a little more of it with the girls.
Once we had our seeds planted, we joined in a few games and activities to help us learn more about growing fruit and veg. The girls enjoyed guessing which seeds go with which vegetables (another activity where I learned something new too) and putting on a blindfold and then guessing which vegetables they managed to “dig” out of an earth-filled sack.
TV chef and mum of one Lorraine Pascale is also working with Innocent as part of the Sow & Grow campaign and has produced several recipes to help encourage children to eat more fruit and veg. We got to sample some of these during lunch and the girls particularly enjoyed the lemony chicken pasta and the cowboy con carne. They also loved the bowls of raw veg on the tables too and happily munched their way through quite a lot of carrot!
A week on, our vegetables are growing very nicely. The spinach and peas are starting to appear and the cress is ready to be eaten. The girls love checking on their pots each day and watching the little shoots appear and they’re looking forward to eating the food they’ve grown too.
Innocent have been running the Sow & Grow campaign in Ireland for the last four years to encourage children to get out in the fresh air and have fun growing their own veg. It’s good for children to know where the food they eat comes from and children who grow their own food are more likely to eat fruit and veg and continue healthy eating habits throughout their lives.
The Sow & Grow campaign is launching across schools in the UK this spring and more than 3300 schools have signed up so far to get growing kits full of seeds, information packs and lesson plans. Children are also encouraged to upload photos and updates on their growing diaries to help them win prizes and see their classroom crowned as Sow & Grow Champions.
If your child’s school is interested in taking part, the teachers can go online to http://sowandgrow.innocentdrinks.co.uk/ to register for their special (and completely free) growing packs which includes seeds, soil, growing guides and lesson plans.