Friday, 17 February 2017

Innocent UK #SowandGrowUK - An Introduction

As a stay-at-home dad as well as a home educator I always make sure that both boys have a great understanding of PSHE (Personal, Social and Health Education)


We cover a variety of topics, one core aspect is a clear foundation of food lifecycles, growth, the social impact of food and developing understanding around this.

If you are one of my regular readers then you will know that food and cooking plays a core skill set within our education and we often look at circular processes of the food, how it is made, what from and how we can then use it. Embedded in these lessons is a clear understanding that we can grow and use our own food and when these healthier options are available.

Usually in spring time we start our food lifecycle topics where we have grown a variety of fruit and vegetables. I love it and so do the boys; seeing something grow from a seed, knowing how it grows stronger, learning to nurture that growth and then reaping the fruits of our labours at the end is a precious experience for anyone.



This has been our attitude as a family for generations and is something that I would love my boys to continue.

With all of this in mind:

I am, of course, pleased to announce that I am an innocent UK ambassador for their Sow and Grow campaign which is designed to encourage children to make healthier choices by growing some of the food.

Innocent’s overall mission is to get kids to eat healthily.  They have partnered with a not-for-profit organisation called GIY (Grow It Yourself) whose mission is to encourage people to grow their own food.  They believe that food growing creates ‘food empathy’ – a deeper understanding of food, where it comes from and how it’s produced.

Innocent launched eighteen years ago and is the UK and Europe’s number one smoothie brand.  They sell natural, healthy products – in little bottles and big cartons; smoothies and juice for kids
Innocent believe that everything they make should taste good and do good too. With that they try to leave the planet a little bit better than how they found it. This is reflected in everything, from their use of green electricity at Fruit Towers, to sourcing fruit from places that go the extra mile in terms of looking after all the people that work on the farms and the environment.

One thing that I love about this campaign is the rooted idea behind the educational message. Both innocent and GIY know that children who grow their own food are more likely to eat fruit and veg, show higher levels of knowledge around nutrition and are more likely to continue healthy eating habits throughout their lives. With this in mind innocent and GIY have aimed their message at primary school aged children. Teachers will be able to apply for (completely free) growing packs online here.

GIY will  send out growing kits to 6,666 schools across the country (1/4 of UK’s primary school children) with each kit containing enough material for a class of 32: 3 packs of seeds (runner beans, cress and carrots), 32 growing cups, soil and resource booklet containing advice and tips. 

The selection of seeds have been chosen carefully; the packs contain runner beans, cress and carrot seeds because they are fast-growing, interesting, colourful and importantly, plants that children can see growing and changing almost straight away which will help them to remain engaged and enthusiastic. 

Educationally, as a home educating parent and primary school teacher, I think this campaign is amazing! Look beyond the fundamental idea behind the campaign and just examine the educational pack and resources you can see how much effort has been put in to match cross-curricular criteria and targets.


By working closely with teachers and educational specialists they have developed detailed lesson plans for use throughout the primary years. Each one highlights the national curriculum and the subjects it can cover and all with a cross age range for adapted ages.

As an experienced class teacher I can tell you that it takes time to learn how to plan and cover one class with the range of abilities but as a key stage leader it is harder to create content that covers it all.

The pack starts off with growing tips for each type of seed.

The way that it is set out, it can be read as a preface or can be read, adapted and crafted into an individual literacy lesson.

Each lesson plan gives a clear indication of the lesson duration, the cross curricular links, a WALT brief, main activity and then a final call discussion.


Each lesson then has its own accompanying activity sheet, such as this “My Growing Chart” to work along with.

The resource pack is something all educators, both home and schooled will love! The message behind the campaign is something I am sure each parent would happily back but to have the encompassing educational factor is perfect!

As part of the campaign, innocent undertook a survey that revealed that 89% of parents knew where veg came from when they were young, a higher figure than with children today. They also found out that 42% of parents had a more healthy diet as children.

These statistics don’t really surprise me but I can see that this campaign will hopefully create large improvements in these statistics from now on.

This campaign is live from the beginning of February to the end of April and the lesson plans can be downloaded from the Sow and Grow website.  

We have a few more posts to come out over this campaign to keep you up-to-date with our growing progress so keep a look out!

In the meantime, we’re off to learn, explore and grow!
(This is a collaboration with Innocent and GIY. My opinions are my own and I am under no obligations to give a positive review! Please see my full disclosure at the bottom of my blog)


Unknown said...

This sounds like an amazing project for you and your boys. Like you my parents grow their own veg and I have grown up eating a wide veriety of fresh seasonal veg.

Donna said...

This is such a great campaign an you and the boys are the perfect ambassadors! I look forward to seeing more about what you 'sow and grow' x

Unknown said...

It's great how the pack comes with all the teaching resources. Look forward to seeing how your stuff grows!

Plutonium Sox said...

I love this post Martyn, enabling primary school classes to grow from seed is a great way to reach more children with the healthy eating and growing your own message. I have also bookmarked the GIY website as I've been looking for advice on what to plant when and as soon as I opened the site I could see it was just what I was looking for. I can also see that they are already sewing seeds, eek! I'd better get on with that next week.

jeremy@thirstydaddy said...

What a great campaign to be a part of. Can't wait to hear about how it goes. Congrats