In response, the Trust has created the Sowing Squad – a 13-strong team of super keen young growers from across England, Wales and Northern Ireland – who want to help turn this interest into action and inspire the next generation to get planting.
Last year 88,000 families took home seeds to plant as part of their free Food Glorious Food events and this year they want even more to benefit. From the start of May half term, another 170 million free seeds will be given away – equivalent to 2.5 million thyme plants, 3.2 million leaf salads and 2.8 million bunches of carrots. Tomato seedlings will also be available.
The seeds have been specially selected to enable everyone to take part, regardless of whether their garden is big or small. Thyme, salad leaves and carrots can be grown in containers of all shapes and sizes; from welly boots to old baths. For those without a garden, window boxes can also be used.
‘I love seeing things grow from seeds and having food to pick from the garden,’ said Grace Lloyd, one of the Sowing Squad members, aged eight from London.’
The Squad have got their work cut out as the survey of 1,000 children aged 8-12 years revealed the lengths they go to avoid eating their greens:
– 42 per cent hide it under other food on their plate
– 30 per cent throw it in the bin when no-one’s looking
– 23 per cent sneak it on to someone else’s plate
– 17 per cent feed it to the family pet
Jenny Sansom, local National Trust food coordinator, says:
"Growing your own may be the secret to encouraging children to eat their greens, and not a naughty step in sight. Our research shows that, if given the space, the vast majority of children would love the chance to plant and nurture food they have grown from scratch.
"You don’t need much space to get started and children are much more likely to try food they have planted and grown themselves. The whole family will benefit from the freshest and tastiest food possible, and it’s great fun too, which is a real plus."
The survey findings also revealed that topping the list of favourite vegetables for children was sweetcorn, followed by potatoes and carrots, all of which can be grown in the UK. Strawberries were top of the league table for most loved fruit but the poor Brussels sprout remains children’s most hated vegetable.
The great seed giveaway will take place at National Trust family events across the UK. To find your nearest property visit www.foodgloriousfood.org.uk.
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