Yorkshire Schoolchildren Celebrate Growing Their Own
A growing competition to inspire children about where their food comes from has culminated in a grand finale at the 164th Great Yorkshire Show in Harrogate.
The Yorkshire Agricultural Society’s annual School Veg Box Competition challenges primary schools across Yorkshire to grow their own vegetables in imaginatively decorated wooden veg boxes and chart their learning journey in colourful diaries.
This year’s theme was Nutritious Delicious and following a first round of judging of 22 entries, 12 schools were invited to display their boxes at the Great Yorkshire Show, where pupils and teachers came together for a celebration of the competition at the Garden Show stage.
Rosettes were awarded to all the finalists, but it was Mill Hill Community Primary School, Northallerton that took the title of 2023 School Veg Box Competition Champions for their beautifully presented entry. The runners up were pupils from Farsley Springbank Primary School, Leeds.
Mill Hill’s Year 6 Gardening Club pupils had grown all the ingredients for a King’s Coronation celebration menu of Coronation quiche, minted new potatoes and an array of vegetables including Swiss chard, tarragon, spinach, three colours of tomatoes, lettuce, and broad beans, and had planted flowers to attract pollinators. Their design also included a bug hotel and a bee bath.
Angela Jones, a teacher at Mill Hill Community Primary School who mentored pupils along their growing journey said: “It’s been an absolute inspiration. Children who have never gardened before have embraced growing and a lot of them have now taken up gardening at home, which is what it’s all about.”
An award for the Best Decorated veg box was presented to Dacre Braithwaite Church of England Primary School near Summerbridge in Nidderdale, and the winner of the Best Veg Box Diary was White Laith Primary School in Whinmoor, Leeds.
Philippa Gray, Charitable Activities Coordinator at the Yorkshire Agricultural Society who organised the competition said: “Well done to all our entrants. The standard has been absolutely amazing, and I know the judges had a really difficult decision to make.”
The finalists’ boxes remain on display in the Great Yorkshire Show’s family-friendly Discovery Zone for the duration of the Show before being returned to schools so pupils can continue with their growing projects.
The competition is part of farming charity and Great Yorkshire Show organisers, the Yorkshire Agricultural Society’s year-round mission to inspire new generations about all things farming, food and the countryside, and was kindly sponsored by Mr. Fothergills Seeds, R S Cockerill, Fruitscape and Yorganics. The boxes were judged at the Show by Suzie Kelly and Charlotte Haggarty from the Kitchen Garden team at RHS Harlow Carr, Harrogate.
- The Great Yorkshire Show is England’s premier agricultural event, organised by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society (YAS), a registered charity supporting rural Yorkshire.
- The Farmer Scientist Network (FSN) aims to work with the crop and livestock sectors to find new ways in which science and technology can find solutions and underpin innovation in agriculture.
- YAS is supported by its family of businesses including Fodder, Yorkshire Event Centre, Pavilions of Harrogate and the Harrogate Caravan Park as well as events Great Yorkshire Show and Springtime Live.
- Businesses and events held at the Great Yorkshire Showground in 2019 contributed £73.7 million to the economy.
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