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Sowing the seeds for future demand

Both the ‘Grow Your Own Potatoes’ and ‘Cook Your Own Potatoes’ projects from Potato Council are making an important contribution to the AHDB Education Strategy 2012-17.

GYOP pupil

Grow Your own potatoes pupil

The five year strategy brings together the six AHDB divisions and a number of other organisations to provide a range of curricular activities to educate five to 16 year olds about food production and farming. This increased collaboration will deliver greater educational impact as well as better value for money for levy payers.

Potato Council education co-ordinator, Sue Lawton, said: “Education is a clear priority for Potato Council. Learning about potatoes – where they come from, how they grow and their use in healthy, balanced diets – will help young people build positive, life-long eating habits.

“Grow Your Own Potatoes is now firmly established in the school curriculum for key stages 1 and 2, benefitting over one million children, while the recent introduction of Cook Your Own Potatoes takes this a step further by giving secondary school pupils the know-how to prepare healthy and tasty meals.

“As part of the AHDB Education Working Group, we can continue to grow both of these projects as well as those of our partners to drive home a clear, cost-effective and consistent message about the importance of food and farming to schools.”


The AHDB Education Strategy will:

  • Increase awareness of where food comes from and how it is produced by levy payers with care for the environment
  • Develop a positive image of farming
  • Raise awareness of the positive contribution made by levy payer produced food within a healthy balanced diet
  • Deliver greater value for levy payers by maximising collaborative educational opportunities and building AHDB’s reputation with stakeholders
  • Encourage the development of food and meal preparation skills in line with Food Standard Agency food competencies for young people



It was smiles and muddy fingers all round as primary school pupils swapped pencils for potatoes to mark the eighth annual ‘Grow Your Own Potatoes’ project. Over 120,000 seed potatoes, or 9.3 tonnes, have been planted as pupils from 14,600 schools embark on their journey to discover how potatoes grow.

Sue Lawton said: “This year we’ve seen the number of schools participating in the project increase by 15 per cent. Its popularity is due to the fact that it delivers simple and fun, hands-on learning. It is also a medium that far extends the classroom, uniting children and growers.”

Potato Council has been working with a number of Agricultural Associations to help bring the project to life. Planting events were held in Suffolk, Yorkshire, Newbury and Worcester, involving hundreds of pupils in each region. Growers and processors have also been actively helping schools through potato-themed activities and providing top tips and advice on how to care for their plants.

Sue added: “The enthusiasm for Grow Your Own Potatoes continues to increase, as does the support around the country. We now have four Agricultural Societies on board, cooperation from industry and backing from The Sun, which has helped us to reach two thirds of all primary schools in the UK – a fantastic achievement.”

“The next stage will see schools harvest their crops in June, which is another great opportunity for the industry to support us in educating the potato shoppers of tomorrow.”

To request literature or for more information about how you can get involved in harvesting or other Potato Council educational projects, please contact Sue Lawton on 02476 478 774 or email

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