Just before the doors of school close for the summer break, the pupils at Solas Chríost in Tallaght were given the ultimate surprise with the arrival of SuperValu and the GIY team to announce that the class are the national winner of the 2023 SuperValu Let’s GROW initiative. The initiative was launched in the spring of 2023, and 50,000 pupils across Ireland have since taken part. Participants have the opportunity to grow food in their classrooms and engage in a learning initiative on how to grow their own food. The project is sponsored by SuperValu and rolled out by GIY, which aims to educate and enable a global movement of food growers, whose collective actions will help to build a sustainable food system.
In April each school taking part in the SuperValu Let’s GROW received everything they needed to start growing their own vegetables. This included packs of seeds, compost discs and pots for growing food, as well as teacher resource packs with curriculum-linked lesson plans and activities.
The pupils in Solas Chríost beat off some very stiff competition to win the project. They were deemed winners after the implementation of a scoring system which evaluated how they made growing fun through imagination & creativity, how they integrated growing into class work, their actual growing efforts, what they learned on nutrition and their use of and cooking with food, along with an entertainment factor.
Teacher Alan McDonnell says, “We were delighted to take part in the SuperValu Let’s GROW campaign and we are even more delighted to win. From the minute they opened the box, the students were so excited about learning how to grow their own food. They loved the opportunity to get their hands into the soil and when they saw food growing as a result of their efforts they were hooked. The SuperValu Let’s GROW campaign is a wonderful opportunity for children to learn a new skill, interact with each other and their teachers in a new way, and learn all about the food system.”
Founder of GIY Michael Kelly says, “Every person in this class is a true ambassador of growing your own food. Their passion, enthusiasm and joy were palpable throughout the growing season, it’s obvious that they relished every moment of the challenge – which we can see they didn’t find challenging at all. They entertained everyone following the initiative online with their wacky videos, which truly encapsulated the essence of the SuperValu Let’s GROW campaign.”
SuperValu Managing Director Ian Allen said: “We’re delighted to support the next generation of Irish food growers through the Let’s GROW initiative. I want to congratulate the class, and everyone involved at Solas Chríost, on being named this year’s winners. The commitment and enthusiasm they have shown is inspiring and highlights the value of initiatives like this.”
SuperValu Fortunestown Owner Alan Jordan said: “Supporting local and Irish food growers is a key pillar of SuperValu’s identity and I’m thrilled to see the dedication that has been shown in our community by the children at Solas Chríost. At SuperValu Fortunestown, we’ll do everything we can to continue the momentum, and foster a lifelong passion for, and interest in, food in the community.”
The national SuperValu Let’s GROW campaign is run by the not-for-profit social enterprise, GIY, and 2023 is the start of a 3-year partnership with SuperValu to deliver classroom-based food growing and food literacy education. For further details visit www.supervaluletsgrow.ie
PHOTO: Mark Stedman