http://www.soilassociation.org/schoolfarmersmarkets
Soil Association : School farmers' markets

School farmers' markets

Setting up farmers' markets in schools provides:

  • Opportunities for children to learn about food and farming
  • Exciting and relevant ways to interpret the curriculum for teachers
  • A new market for produce for local farmers and growers
  • An opportunity for you to buy fresh, local and organic produce on your doorstep

Our projects

  • London Farm Academy
    This is an exciting two year project involving 10 London schools (both primary and secondary). The schools will firstly go on residential visits to organic farms where they will take part in a variety of activities that will develop their educational awareness around food and farming. On their return to school the pupils will be encouraged and supported in setting up school farmers' markets.

We are also establishing farmers' markets in school playgrounds in:

Advantages to the public:

  • A school farmers' market gives people direct access to good quality fresh produce, the opportunity to get to know the farmers and producers and to ask questions about the production of their food, and how to prepare and store it.
  • Buying direct from the producer gives the assurance of knowing where your food has come from.
  • School farmers' markets are convenient, as markets are held in local schools at a time that allows people to combine shopping with picking up their children.

Advantages to schools:

  • Running a school farmers' market provides pupils with the opportunity to achieve positive learning outcomes in a range of different National Curriculum subjects, including literacy, numeracy, ICT, science and 'enterprise and entrepreneurial skills'. They also provide an opportunity for pupils to develop new skills such as money handling, marketing and recognising local produce and seasonal vegetables.
  • The activity is a 'real' one. Pupils are involved in planning the project from start to finish. They take responsibility for what happens and the decisions are theirs. Involving the children in planning, designing and running the market enables the school to communicate the importance of sustainably-produced local food and provides a context for looking at food chain issues and understanding where food comes from.
  • A market generates income for the school to spend on other sustainability activities such as buying seeds to grow vegetables in school growing areas.
  • A successful market is something in which the whole school and local community can feel proud.

Advantages to farmers and growers:

  • School farmers' markets provide an opportunity for small-scale producers (some who are currently too small to sell at local town farmers' markets) to sell directly to the public, including new start-up businesses in their early stages of growth.
  • Increased links with farmers ensure a better level of communication and understanding between farmers and the public.
  • The time and cost commitment required for a school farmers' market is far less, as an average market will last for about two hours rather than a whole day.