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Budding gardeners provide a boost for The Long Table

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Green-fingered youngsters sold produce they have grown this year at a rainy Shambles Market in Stroud on Friday, raising funds for The Long Table.

The event was organised by Ruth Quinlan, the project officer for Young Marketeers in Gloucestershire: “I work for School Food Matters who run these markets all around the country, and loads of other projects that are all about kids knowing where their food comes from.

“We’ve got Cashes Green, Leonard Stanley, St Rose’s, The Shrubberies and The Rosary Catholic Primary School here today. They’ve all grown vegetables, flowers, herbs, whatever they can. Sometimes in containers, sometimes in big plots of land.

“Sometimes they’ve just dug beds for this project and some of them have been doing it for a couple of years and they’re now expanding into getting in fruit trees, and they’ve got new raised beds or they’re getting greenhouses -everyone’s really enjoying it and there’s so much to be gone out of it for both teachers and pupils.”

Will North, General Manager at The Long Table, said: “This the second year that amazing local schools have grown produce in their own time at school, and bring it to the market and sell it, and all the proceeds go towards The Long Table where we use that money to make sure that everyone has access to great food, and people to eat it with.

“The Young Marketeers program just has given young people in the five valleys a chance to see where their food comes from, and they are talking to the people that are buying it and sharing all the wonderful stories they have around what they’ve grown, and how they’ve grown it.”

Ruth is looking for more schools to get involved: “Next year I’m hoping we’ll have more than five schools taking part. We kick off in March and grow through to July and I think it’s just wonderful for building kids’ resilience, a really positive project of something they can do outside the classroom and feel they are doing well, and it’s totally different from all the academic stuff.”

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