With reports again highlighting a concerning lack of knowledge among young adults and the origin of the food they eat, educating the next generation remains an important focus. As popular primary school project ‘Grow Your Own Potatoes’ enters its twelfth year, AHDB Potatoes is calling for greater industry engagement to maximise its impact.
Sue Lawton, education co-ordinator for AHDB Potatoes, said: “It is alarming to hear that almost one in five (18 per cent) of young adults say they simply don’t need to know where food comes from1. This naivety and misunderstanding is a challenge for the industry and one we must tackle if we are to encourage young people to make more informed food choices. The more we can do to ensure that potato knowledge and good eating habits endure for life, is crucial.
“Grow Own Potatoes has made a positive impact since its inception, reaching well over 2 million children. The project targets children at an influential age, combining classroom theory with fun, hands-on practical activities, which industry can get involved with. Last year 14,600 unique schools took part (over 65% of UK primaries) but help is needed to engage with and support those schools, from driving recruitment to participating in classroom talks, planting and harvesting events and assemblies.
“In 2016 we are increasing the number of kits available, with up to four classes per school eligible to take part. Not only will this widen the project’s reach, but it will encourage more ‘whole school’ participation, with opportunities for competitions, special assemblies and other potato-related activities.”