27 January 2021
GYOP continues despite COVID impacts
THE AHDB's Grow Your Own Potatoes (GYOP) Programme will continue in 2021, despite the impact of COVID-19, with support from the potato industry, it has been announced.
GYOP has been running for more than 15 years and is an educational initiative that helps children learn more about where their food comes from, how it grows and the role potatoes play in a healthy, balanced diet. It has delivered positive messages about potatoes to more than five million primary school children nationwide in that time.
Despite Covid restrictions meaning fewer pupils are in school, all parties involved agreed campaign kits should be sent out and GYOP should continue as planned. These include main sponsor McCain, representatives from seed suppliers, and the AHDB team.
The unanimous decision comes after primary schools across England, Scotland and Wales already requested more than 14,000 of the 15,000 kits available.
AHDB Education Manager Sue Lawton said this year's project will include a six-week block of work based around the theme of potatoes, with cross-curricular links to different subject areas designed to help teachers.
The work is designed to fit between planting and harvesting and to align with curriculums in England, Scotland, and Wales.
Sue said: “Children can study their potato plants as they grow and learn how to prepare a delicious potato salad when their own potatoes are ready.”
The closure of schools all over the UK as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has forced AHDB to adapt the GYOP project and create new ways to engage with thousands of children who found themselves being home-schooled.
“Back in 2020, following the first round of school closures, teachers involved in the scheme started putting plans in place to look after their growing plants while they were unable to access their classroom,” Sue added.
“A survey shortly afterwards highlighted that 97% of those that responded had managed to do so.”
Regular correspondence with teachers, including links to potato-related resources on the GYOP website as well as the Food a fact of life website meant that children at home could continue to engage with the project and those involved can discuss their activities with AHDB in a podcast.
Schools can still get involved if they complete the registration form before the deadline of January 22nd.
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