An estimated 60,000 litres of soup will be served up by schools, youth and community groups taking part in the Royal Horticultural Society’s (RHS) Big Soup Share this week (7th – 13th October). 3,000 have signed-up to hold events where young gardeners will share the soup they’ve made from their harvested crops with friends, family or the local community.
Growing food is the most popular gardening activity in schools – 94% of RHS Campaign for School Gardening members say they grow their own[i] – with pumpkin, mixed vegetable and leek and potato soup set to prove popular according to the charity’s poll of those involved[ii].
Now in its third year, the week of events is designed to celebrate a garden’s harvest and the sense of community that comes from tending to a patch and sharing produce. Events taking place across the country include:
- Charlton Manor Primary School, London, where children have harvested crops from their garden to make leek and potato soup for a community lunch
- St Gregory’s Catholic Science College, London, whose secondary students are serving up soup to local homeless people
- Operation Farm, Manchester, where RHS Young Ambassador George Hassall and his fellow young gardeners are making ‘herby harvest soup’ for a big community event
- Ordsall Hall, Salford, which will be visited by three local schools to harvest carrots, courgettes and beans for soup making
Alana Cama, RHS Schools and Groups Programme Manager said: “In communities across the UK, people of all ages are coming together over a love of growing their own produce, and the Big Soup Share is a chance for them to celebrate their gardening achievements further by inviting friends, family and other members of their local communities to share it with them.
“Over the last couple of years of running the campaign, we have seen groups use their event to raise money for local charities, provide food or companionship to others in need, raise awareness of sustainability and heathy eating, or to bring people together and improve social cohesion. That is the magic of the Big Soup Share.”
The RHS Campaign for School Gardening has provided schools and groups running Big Soup Share events with a free resource pack including posters, recipe ideas and stickers. Downloadable resources and an opportunity to register interest to take part in 2020 can be found at https://schoolgardening.rhs.org.uk/bigsoupshare
Celebrities such as Great British Bake Off judge Prue Leith, comedian Bill Bailey and TV and radio presenter Jo Whiley have also shared their favourite soup flavours with us. You can watch these here at https://youtu.be/wyPEqNWkjxE
Schools and groups can sign-up for free RHS resources and advice, including on easy-to-grow edibles, by visiting the RHS Campaign for School Gardening website: https://schoolgardening.rhs.org.uk
[i] RHS survey of RHS Campaign for School Gardening members, 2017
[ii] RHS post-event survey of Big Soup Share participants, 2018