The Growing Communities project is managed by the Rural Community Council of Essex (RCCE). The project encourages young people to eat healthily, understand and learn about food provenance whilst capturing their imaginations. It helps assist with creating links between generations, enabling shared knowledge and promotes working with communities.
All primary and special schools in Essex were invited to take part in the competition which encouraged pupils to get creative in the garden and healthy in the kitchen.
To enter the competition, pupils designed a kitchen garden plot which could be easily grown at school or at home. They then imagined what a delicious healthy packed lunch could look like if it was made using the produce from the plot plus some additional ingredients such as pasta, couscous and rice.
With mouth-watering entries coming in from across the county, the judges (Nicholas Charrington, RCCE Chairman, Hannah Powell, Perrywood Garden Centre and Andrew Tokely, Kings Seeds) had the difficult task of selecting the overall winner.
From sweet fruity creations to scrummy savory dishes, all the entries showcased the children’s green-fingered aspirations and culinary creativity. Judges were particularly looking for an easy to prepare lunchbox dish which was healthy and included a variety of different produce.
After a tough judging process, eight-year-old Rebecca Warder from Notley Green Primary School in Braintree was crowned winner for the primary school category, receiving £750 worth of plants & gardening equipment from Perrywood for her school. Rebecca’s winning design will be re-created in a garden at the school with RCCE and Hannah Powell from Perrywood Garden Centre.
The other winners and runners up (who won prizes of £200 towards school plants & gardening equipment) were:
- Owen Vilday, 14, from Cedar Hall School in Benfleet (winner, special school category)
- Flynn Gibaud, 5, from Wentworth Primary School in Maldon (runner up)
- Finlay Addison, 8, from Down Hall Primary School in Rayleigh (runner up)
- Suzzie Appiah, 12, from Harlow Fields School in Harlow (runner up, special school category)
The competition was sponsored by Perrywood Garden Centre, Kings Seeds, Augustine Courtauld Trust and Royal Horticultural Society.