15 November 2022
Volunteers sought for school initiative, as more sponsors come on board.
GROW Your Own Potatoes (GYOP), the UK primary school-based potato growing initiative, has announced that long-time supporters, McCain Foods, is to be joined by retail giants Tesco as well as potato suppliers Branston, E Park and Puffin Produce in sponsoring the programme in 2023.
Working collectively, this funding will enable 8,000 free potato growing kits to be made available for primary schools nationwide.
Recent changes within the potato industry resulted in the funding for the GYOP programme coming to an end. Andrew Skea, Managing Director at Potato House (the new home of GYOP), and a keen supporter of the programme for several years, put out a plea for industry to work together to keep it running.
Andrew said: “We are extremely grateful to our partners for getting behind this fantastic initiative. Not only will they be helping to make a difference to the way children view their food, at an early age, developing healthy eating habits that will stay with them as they grow. With their help we now have the potential to reach 240,000 children with positive messages about potatoes – messaging that benefits the whole sector.”
Project Manager at GYOP, Sue Lawton, said GYOP has made a positive impact since its inception, reaching well over six million children.
“The project targets children at an influential age, combining classroom theory with fun, hands-on activity. With this funding, we are now able to continue the work in helping to keep potatoes in the hearts and minds of the next generation of consumers,” she said.
James Young, McCain Foods GB Vice President, Agriculture, added: “We are thrilled to support the GYOP programme as it continues to flourish and helps educate children across the UK about where their food comes from. The kits allow kids to get hands on experience, learning about the different stages of potato growing and ultimately learning how to cook delicious food. We are now in our 10th year of sponsorship of the programme and we look forward to working with the team in the future.”
Hannah Moseley from Tesco said, “Tesco is thrilled to be a part of the GYOP scheme, helping children in the community learn about a healthy diet and how potatoes can play a role in this.”
GYOP is always looking for industry support, not only with sponsorship, but also to widen the project’s reach. It is encouraging local schools to get involved and urged all those from the potato industry to help persuade their local primary schools to sign up to take part. Volunteers are also sought to help them schools with chitting and planting their seed potatoes in March, to be a point of contact through the growing process, helping answer any questions they may have, and to help with harvesting their crops in June.
For more information, or to get involved, please email [email protected]