On Wednesday 5th October, 60 children from 12 London primary schools will be setting out their stalls and selling fruit and vegetables grown from seed at Borough Market’s Harvest Sale. Every £1 raised by the schoolchildren will provide six meals for vulnerable families across the capital.
The Borough Market Harvest Sale is the culmination of the Young Marketeers programme, run as a partnership with campaigning food education charity School Food Matters. The programme teaches young people how to grow food from seed with the help of expert gardeners, before harvesting and selling their tasty produce to the public. Now in its 11th year, nearly 15,000 children have been involved with the programme. Children have learned how to grow over 45 different varieties of fruit and vegetables at school, demonstrating the diversity of produce available in the UK.
Last year saw the first in-Market Harvest Sale since the pandemic, with children raising enough money to provide over 6,792 meals for families in need through The Felix Project. Proceeds from this year’s sale will again be donated to the food distribution charity.
In line with Borough Market’s recently published inaugural Food Policy, part of Borough Market’s role as a charitable trust is to use the traders’ food knowledge to provide opportunities for education and training, particularly within the local community. As well as being taught the basics of growing produce by experienced horticulturalists, the children receive training from Borough Market’s expert traders on how to be successful stallholders; from creating eye-catching displays to hygiene and customer relations. This innovative approach has recently seen Borough Market win the award for Business Commitment to Enterprise and Skills at the Southwark Business Excellence Awards.
Kate Howell, Director of Communications and Engagement, Borough Market, said: “Inviting the children to spend the day experiencing life as a Borough Market trader is one of the highlights of our year. As a charitable trust, part of our role in the community is finding ways to improve children’s health, broaden their diets and set them up with useful cooking skills. This is one of the ways that the Market is currently fulfilling those principles, and we’ll be building on that work in years to come.”
Stephanie Slater, Founder and Chief Executive of School Food Matters, said: “When Southwark schoolchildren gathered at Borough Market in October 2012 to sell their homegrown pumpkins, I had no idea that this event would grow into the wonderful Young Marketeers programme. Eleven years on, this has become an annual fixture at Borough Market with 30 schools taking part over three market days: winter, summer and harvest. To me this shows an appetite for food education – programmes that will enrich the curriculum and arm the next generation with the skills they need to live healthy and happy lives.”
A teacher from Robert Browning Primary School said: “I love this project and look forward to taking part every year. It’s nice to see the children’s confidence grow and develop.”
Students who took part in last year’s sale enjoyed the experience:
“I have learnt that it’s important to have courage and speak to people. If you smile lots of people buy your produce.”
“It was all brilliant, but I really enjoyed setting up the stall and display and selling the food that we have grown.”
Borough Market’s traders’ top tips for being a successful stallholder can be seen here – from creating eye-catching displays to hygiene and customer relations: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qwq2M1pH1ig