About Growing for the Future

Tourism NI, in partnership with CCEA, have developed this resource.

Building on the legacy of the Year of Food and Drink 2016 and a project between the Hastings Hotels Group, Jilly Dougan (edible gardener) and 5 local schools in 2016, this resource aims to encourage children to grow fruit and vegetables and explore where food comes from while promoting healthy eating.  It also aims to:

  • raise awareness among young people and teaching staff at schools and colleges on the Year of Food and Drink 2016 Campaign: the importance of food and healthy eating; the breadth of exciting career opportunities offered in the hospitality and tourism industry and increase the number of young people able to cook using a foundation of skills
  • build on activities around the Year of Food and Drink 2016 to promote progression routes into the industry particularly through high quality apprenticeship programmes
  • Connect children of all ages and their parents with the concept of food growing, where their food comes from, the importance of buying local produce, and how to cook simply from scratch. In effect joining up the supply chain and increasing food knowledge.
  • At the same time helping to address the broader issues of obesity, over consumption of junk food, general health and outdoors activity.

This resource is a monthly overview and guide to growing for schools and pupils at Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2. For each month of the academic year, it includes:

  • Classroom activities aligned to the curriculum
  • Video diaries and practical tips for growing by local edible gardener Jilly Dougan.

Fresh, wholesome locally produced food is important to everyone – the food we choose to eat can either do us good, or, in the long term potentially cause us harm.  Certainly, we owe it to our children to inform them in simple terms where their food comes from, who produces it, how is it produced and give them enough knowledge to inform their food choices through life.

Exposure to growing even a small amount of food in a school environment can help introduce children to real food. A 2012 research paper has proven that not only does it promote health and well-being, particularly in relation to diet and nutrition, but also encourages and facilitates learning, builds skills, improves awareness and understanding of the natural environment and strengthens communities. What’s not to like?

Food growing influences environmental awareness and attitudes.  Children and young people with an increased knowledge of the natural world, such as biodiversity, ecosystems and sustainability; understand their impact on the environment and their role as environmental stewards and have increased levels of environmental responsibility.

This resource would not have been possible without the help of:

  • Tourism NI
  • Jilly Dougan
  • CCEA
  • Hastings Hotels Group

Jilly Dougan (edible gardener)

Jilly Dougan (edible gardener)

With over 25 years’ experience in the Agri Food Industry Jilly Dougan has been involved in various food related projects.

She manages the Yellow Door Kitchen Garden, growing fruit, vegetables, microherbs and edible flowers for the catering business. She is on the advisory board for Belfast Food Network (Sustainable Food Cities), the operating group for Food NI, and the committee of the renewed Slow Food NI.

She now installs edible gardening spaces for both the private and public sector (mostly hotels and restaurants), and has written a book for schools, entitled ‘Sow, Grow, Munch’.

She is passionate about the importance of educating children about real food, and where it comes from.

She is married to Simon Dougan of the Yellow Door, has 3 dogs, 2 hens and also keeps bees!

"I have just come across this microsite and it is absolutely fantastic! It is extremely engaging, professional, relevant and appropriate, and we are looking forward to using it in our school. Really well done on producing such a quality resource for schools."

Mrs Eileen Trew

Principal and P2/3 Teacher
The Drelincourt School, Armagh