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Grow Your Own Potatoes!

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Launched in 2005, Grow Your Own Potatoes (GYOP) was one of the first primary school based growing projects. Since then, it has become the largest of its kind with over 2 million children taking part in learning where potatoes come from, how they grow and the health benefits. The straightforward and hands-on nature of the GYOP project makes it perfect for young pupils.

Schools that register to take part (in February) receive a FREE growing kit containing everything they need, to grow a successful crop.

Sue Lawton – Education Manager at AHDB updates us with how this year went.

This year with E Park’s help we sent out:

  • 13,300 growing kits into schools nationwide
  • Reach approx. 400,000 children, with positive potato messaging

However, 2020 didn’t turn out to be quite the year we were expecting and not long after GYOP planting day back in March, all schools in the UK closed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The severe disruption was felt by many with teaching moving on-line and many families finding themselves home-schooling. A quick email and short survey was sent out to all schools taking part in GYOP to make sure they had plans in place to look after their growing potatoes during the lockdown, with great results. Out of the 871 responses: 97% had planted their potatoes before lockdown and 91% had managed to get plans in place to make sure their growing potato plants were looked after.

To keep schools informed and children engaged in the project a series of emails were then sent to all school contacts, with links to potato related resources, the children could take part in from home on both the GYOP and FFL websites.

Due to COVID-19 and the uncertainty of schools being able to see the project through to harvesting, changes were made to the competition element of this year’s project, with prizes allocated for the top three heaviest weights, regardless of variety or region. These winners are:

First prize – Beavers Community Primary School, Hounslow with 4300g of Colleen

Second prize – Severndale Specialist School, Shrewsbury with 4000g of Piccolo Star

Third prize – St Elizabeth’s Catholic Primary School, Tamworth with 3387g of Belmonda

All of the winning schools’ potatoes were looked after by key workers children who attended school during lockdown.

E Park would like to send congratulations to all the schools that took part and especially the three winners.  Registration for next year is open. If your school would like to take part, please visit:

https://www.growyourownpotatoes.org.uk/about-gyop/register/

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