innocent GIY Sow & Grow Schools Campaign

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innocent GIY Sow & Grow Schools Campaign: Promoting wellness and developing food empathy in children by giving them a food growing experience at school.

Project Stage:
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Research shows that when children grow some of their own food, they gain a deeper understanding of food, which leads to increased knowledge of nutrition, and long term dietary and wellbeing improvements. The innocent GIY Sow & Grow schools campaign gives up to 100,000 children a simple classroom food-growing experience to develop food empathy and promote wellbeing.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Across the EU, children are challenged by a lifestyle that discourages physical activity and encourages the consumption of unhealthy food. As a result, our children have a much-increased risk of developing food-related illnesses such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer. They are also likely to have a shortened life expectancy. It is essential to find innovative ways of encouraging children to develop a deeper understanding of the connections between food, nutrition and wellbeing.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Food growing helps children acquire a deeper understanding of food and develop healthier eating habits. Studies show that food growing children are more likely to eat fruits and vegetables (Bell & Dyment, 2008), show higher levels of knowledge about nutrition (Koch, Waliczek, & Zajicek, 2006) and are more likely to continue healthy eating habits throughout their lives (Morris & Zidenberg-Cherr, 2002). The Sow & Grow campaign engages children with simple classroom food growing experiments. Schools are provided with planting cups, seeds and teacher resources. The simplicity ensures it can be done by any school (regardless of whether they have a garden) or by any teacher (regardless of growing experience).
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

The innocent GIY Sow & Grow campaign harbors an interest not only in growing vegetables and plants but also in healthy and more sustainable eating. According to feedback from teachers that participated in the campaign, the children also become enthusiastic about trying new foods, because they have been involved in growing them. Miss Forde, a teacher at St. Kevin’s Girls National School in Kilnamanagh, Dublin, who participated in the programme in 2013 says that many of the girls involved are now growing their own food at home. “In terms of nutrition,” she says, “the students involved became enthusiastic in trying new foods and took the opportunity to taste new vegetables that they had not tried previously.”

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

There is incredible demand to participate in the Sow & Grow campaign. This year, all 20,000 kits were snapped up by schools within 2-3 days. Every year, demand for the kits far outstrips available supply. We believe that making participation in the programme free of charge for schools ensures that it is accessible to schools in disadvantaged areas. Our challenge therefore is to investigate ways we can make this programme available to every class that wants to participate in every school in Ireland, and indeed throughout the EU. What funding and logistics model could we use to achieve this, and what collaboration partners could we work with? For 2015 we are investigating adding additional partners to the Sow & Grow collaboration, from the public and philanthropic sectors, and perhaps from crowd funding.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

In Ireland, an organisation called Agriaware were distributing growing kits to schools, funded by the agribusiness sector. Their programme distributed raised beds to schools to develop their own school garden. GIY's Sow & Grow programme was designed to allow any school to take part even if they didn't have space for growing. Agriaware have more recently transitioned away from distributing kits, towards making curriculum plans available to teachers for download. The focus is on creating knowledge about the farming sector, as opposed to knowledge about growing food yourself.


GIY is a multi-award winning social enterprise with a proven track record at generating system change. innocent is a global leader in getting healthy, natural food and drinks to as many places as possible. The senior management teams in both organisations (including GIY founder Michael Kelly and innocent Ireland manager Tim Casey) have been heavily involved in helping to plan, promote and execute the programme each year. Brendan Smartt, Country Manager of innocent drinks in 2013 said: “The campaign is the one I am most proud of since I took over the Irish business in 2007. It was a locally developed idea that worked because both the team at innocent and GIY worked extremely hard to make the most of it.” The programme has also involved a celebrity campaign patron, TV chef and author Donal Skehan to generate media and social media interest.