Pupils at the 1,000th school to join the thriving Duchy Originals HDRA Organic Gardens for Schools project were delighted when celebrity gardener Kim Wilde paid a visit - despite a downpour!
Former pop star Kim presented the children at Bladon Primary School, Woodstock, with gardening gifts on Wednesday (October 13) to mark this important milestone. The Organic Gardens for Schools project is encouraging pupils and teachers across the UK to start growing their own organic food. Kim was eager to meet youngsters at the 1,000th school to sign up for this successful scheme, because she is an organic gardener herself and will be launching her own children's gardening book next year.
HDRA, the organic organisation, launched the Organic Gardens for Schools project five years ago. This initiative has rapidly expanded since receiving sponsorship from Duchy Originals, the organic and natural food brand set up by The Prince of Wales (profits of which go to The Prince of Wales's Charitable Foundation). Belinda Gooding, Managing Director of Duchy Originals, will also be attending the presentation at the school.
Dr Susan Kay-Williams, HDRA Chief Executive, says: "It's great to reach the 1,000th school in the Duchy Originals HDRA Organic Gardens for Schools project. We hope this will inspire many more schools to get growing and then enjoy tasting the results."
Schools joining the project receive a wealth of support to help them get their vegetable patches off to a wonderful start. They benefit from personal organic gardening advice, a quarterly newsletter and fun, Curriculum-based activities offered through an interactive website, www.schoolsorganic.net, which receives more than 250,000 visits per year.
Belinda Gooding, from Duchy Originals, says: "We are delighted with the success of the Duchy Originals HDRA Organic Gardens for Schools programme. It has grown from strength-to-strength in the past few years and been so successful in really getting children in touch with the food they eat and giving them hands-on-experience of growing their own produce. Reaching the 1,000th school is a wonderful achievement."
Teacher Carolyn Scutt signed Bladon Primary School up for the project because she has just launched a gardening club for pupils. She is an HDRA member herself and wanted to make sure the children get off to a good start by gardening organically. The pupils will be setting up their own vegetable patch, planting bulbs and growing flowers and looking after the apple trees already on the site.
Carolyn says: "It's absolutely fantastic that our school is the 1,000th to join this inspiring project and that Kim Wilde visited our pupils. The children were really excited and cannot wait to start growing their own food. As our gardening club has only just started, it will be really helpful for us to be able to get personal advice and use all of the child-friendly activities on the website."
Kim says: "I think there has never been a more relevant time for children to get involved in growing their own fruit and vegetables organically. Many youngsters' parents are not gardeners, so we need to foster a new generation of caretakers for our environment. We need to open their eyes to the wonders of nature, which will automatically instill a respect for the world around them."