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Guest blog from Food for Life: How to nurture good food and sharing habits for life - Plant and Share Month

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Tuesday, 13 April, 2021

Spring is here! After a long winter lockdown, now is the time to get growing with children – and it’s not just new shoots that will sprout...

Plant and Share Month (19 April – 19 May), a Food for Life Get Togethers event, is all about growing your own and sharing it with those around you. Whether you’re growing in yoghurt pots for the first time with young ones, or encouraging them to dig on the nursery vegetable patch, Plant and Share Month is for everyone.

Why Plant and Share? Why now?

Covid-19 has uncovered the importance of friendships and good physical and mental health. As we all aim to spend more time outside, now is the perfect time to come together over fresh, locally grown food.

Sowing, growing and sharing is not just a fun, educational activity for our children, but crucial for the long-term health, wellbeing and happiness of our future generation.

Nurturing an understanding of where food comes from is crucial for good health. According to scientific research, eating a highly processed diet is bad for our health. This growing area of research associates ultra-processed food with problems such as obesity, cancer, type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease[1]. It is therefore key that children understand where fresh food comes from at as young an age as possible – even better if they can grow their own tasty treats and share with their friends close by!

Encouraging children to grow their own seeds and share with others is fantastic way to promote good food habits for life, whilst also building stronger community links. Less than a third of those surveyed said they know the names of people who live on their street[2]. As the days lengthen and hope appears on the horizon, it’s time to grow not just veg, but new friendships too.

The first step to promoting a healthy, happy future for all starts with our younger generation of budding gardeners.

It’s easy to get involved

  1. Plant your seeds – there will be prizes for the most original container used!
  2. Help them grow - we'll give you everything you need to show you how
  3. Share the seedlings, cuttings or plants - and share them with @SAFoodforLife on Twitter using #FFLGetTogethers

Register on the Food for Life website to receive free resources that guide early years practitioners on how to grow vegetables with children, whilst teaching the different stages of plant growth.  Our guide links back to those key curriculum points, including physical development, literacy, and maths, ensuring Plant and Share Month is as educational as it is fun!

And to get creative, we also have a window poster for children to decorate and colour in.

The fun doesn’t have to stop at nursery - we also have a resource that is perfect for parents potting up with their children at home.

Top Tips to Get Growing

Here’s a taster of some of the top tips from the resources.  To download and use the full resources, register for Plant and Share on our website.

Get Growing!

  1. Let your child choose the seeds they want to sow.
  2. Give your children recycled containers - these can be anything from mushroom punnets to old shoes as long as they hold compost and you can put drainage holes in them. You can also make your own pots out of scrap paper or old newspapers.
  3. Show them how to sprinkle the seeds on the surface, aiming for 2-3cm between the seeds, or sow larger seeds two to a pot. You could make templates of letters or shapes.

Activities to branch out…

  • Bring in different fruit and vegetables to discuss what part of the plant they are and which bits you are eating.
  • Have a tasting session with the children. Do different coloured leaves taste different? Which ones taste the best? What shape are they? How many different colours are there?
  • Encourage the children to pretend to be a plant growing with some spring time, growing inspired backing tunes!
    • Vivaldi’s ‘Spring’ or Grieg Peer Gynt’s ‘Morning’
    • ‘A tiny seed was sleeping’ is a great song to make up actions
    • You could also sing ‘The Lettuce Man’ to the tune of ‘The Muffin Man’!

Get involved!

Plant and Share Month is a celebration of growing, launched by Food for Life Get Togethers (FFLGT), a Soil Association programme funded by the National Lottery Community Fund.

Find out more and sign up.

[1] Elizabeth, L., Machado, P., Zinöcker, M., Baker, P., & Lawrence, M. (2020). Ultra-Processed Foods and Health Outcomes: A Narrative Review. Nutrients, 12(7), 1955. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12071955

[2] According to a Sept 2020 survey of 2,011 UK adults.