Schools can sign up to our Plant to Plate campaign to win garden products
PUBLISHED: 10:28 16 January 2020 | UPDATED: 13:46 17 January 2020
Today we're inviting schools to sign up to our brilliant new Plant to Plate initiative - in which they can win thousands of pounds of gardening products.
We're partnering with Enjoy Gardening More to provide schools with the opportunity to get their hands on a share of £10,000 worth of gardening equipment.
The hope is this will help schools create gardens which teach pupils how food is grown, as well as encourage outdoor learning.
Taking part in this amazing scheme simply requires collecting tokens from our newspapers - and we're hoping lots of parents and grandparents will get involved.
From Saturday January 18 until Friday March 27, there will be a token printed in every Ipswich Star and East Anglian Daily Times.
Every school that manages to collect at least 1,000 tokens will receive a pack worth £130 full of gardening equipment.
Each pack will contain all essentials needed to kick-start a gardening programme, including strawberry runners, pumpkin seeds and recipe ideas.
The three Suffolk schools that collect the most tokens on average per student will be rewarded with a special package containing £1,000 worth of equipment, as well as special guidance from Enjoy Gardening More's head gardener Peter McDermott.
Every school, both big and small, will have the chance to secure prizes in the scheme.
Schools simply need to send a contact name, postal address, email address and telephone number - including the number of students at the school - to firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up.
The deadline for getting entries in is Friday, 17 January.
Glenn Parfitt, headteacher at Stutton CEVC Primary School, said: "We think it's really important for our children to learn in an outside environment.
"It's a largely agricultural area we live in, and we find there's so much to learn about growing.
"We also like to mix our learning up and teach our students in different settings."
Nicole Barr, volunteer coordinator at Melton Primary School, added: "We've already had an area of the school field fenced off to provide our garden area.
"The children are looking forward to preparing and planting the area and using the produce in the spring and summer."
Peter McDermott added: "Gardening helps children to engage with their surroundings, and the benefits are wide ranging from building life skills to understanding sustainability.
"This project is just perfect for schools by giving the next generation an understanding of where food comes from and how the natural world works - plus it gives them a chance to be outside and become happier and healthier.
"It's amazing just how much kids love growing things and they get even more excited when they can eat what they have grown.
"It's our hope that by inspiring just one child to grow something from seed it will lead to a lifetime of enjoyment and interest in gardening and the amazing advantages that it will bring."