Schools grow their own

Schools across Cumbria are being encouraged to spring into action and enter the Grow Your Own competition, run by Booths and The World of Beatrix Potter.

Peter Rabbit - credit © Frederick Warne & Co., 2009

Peter Rabbit - credit © Frederick Warne & Co., 2009

Over 40 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.

Each school can take their pick of the crops to grow a harvest of healthy produce. This can include anything from carrots to cucumbers and radishes to rhubarb.

Designed to help children understand where different fruit and vegetables come from and to encourage them to eat their five a day, the Grow Your Own competition is open to all schools in Lancashire, Cumbria, Yorkshire and Cheshire.

To help pupils get growing, Booths will send each participating school a selection of seasonal vegetable seeds that can be planted now.

Some great prizes are on offer

The winning entrants will get £1,000 for their school to spend on gardening or cooking equipment for use in lessons.

They will also get a special trip for the whole class to visit the World of Beatrix Potter in Bowness-on-Windermere and the new Peter Rabbit Naturally Better Garden.

Three runners up will each receive £150 and a goody bag from Frederick Warne, publishers of the Beatrix Potter books.

Competition will be tough

The judges will include Eric Robson, the Chairman of the BBC’s Gardeners’ Question Time programme, two of Booths’ fresh produce experts Matthew Bruno and Val Gibson, the deputy editor of Olive magazine Lulu Grimes and Richard Lucas, who is designing the Peter Rabbit Naturally Better Garden.  They will be looking for the school that harvests the finest fruit and vegetables.

Eric Robson says: “With Spring arriving, it’s the perfect time for children to get their wellies on and start gardening.  It’s been shown that children who grow their own produce are likely to eat more fruit and vegetables than those who don’t.

“Gardening is such a fun and rewarding experience for young people – and they can eat the results!”

One finalist will be selected from each of the four counties where Booths’ stores are based –

  • Lancashire,
  • Cumbria,
  • Yorkshire
  • and Cheshire.

They will be invited to bring some of their best produce to an awards ceremony at Booths head office in Preston on 13th July, where the awards will be presented by Eric Robson with help from Peter Rabbit.

Booths’ Matthew Bruno says: “We had great feedback from all the schools who took part in the contest last year. The children had a wonderful time and learned so much about growing delicious local produce.

“There’s still time for schools to register and be in with a chance of winning some fantastic prizes.”

More than 35 schools took part in last year’s Grow Your Own competition and the winner was Broad Oak Primary School in Penwortham near Preston in Lancashire. Pupils won over the judges by growing strawberries in Bags for Life, weighing the potatoes in maths and producing cauliflowers that even impressed one of Booths’ local growers.

Richard Foster from the World of Beatrix Potter Attraction says: “We’re all looking forward to seeing how the children get on with growing fruit and vegetables.  We hope the competition like the Peter Rabbit Naturally Better Garden will help children to learn more about where their food comes from and encourage them to eat more fruit and vegetables.”

How to enter

To enter your school into the competition please visit the Booths website at before 30th April.  The site also includes growing tips from Eric Robson and details about how to get your seeds.

Schools will then need to submit their entries by 1st July in the form of a short creative photo or video diary showing the children planting their gardens and growing the fruit and vegetables.

For more information on the World of Beatrix Potter Attraction visit