Schoolchildren all over Jersey stand to benefit from a joint venture between Jersey Farmers’ Union and Bedell Group to sponsor and encourage gardening initiatives in schools.

Named Little Green Fingers, the scheme has already been running successfully for three years in Guernsey – co-sponsored by Bedell Group and Floral Guernsey. It aims to give children the opportunity to experience the joy of growing vegetables and other plants, raise awareness of where food comes from and of environmental issues, and encourage team and community spirit through competition.

Jersey Farmers’ Union has already made a significant contribution through its involvement in organising gardening competitions at the island’s primary and secondary schools since 2007. The new co-sponsored scheme will build on this good work by expanding the network of schools and injecting more funds to improve existing facilities and equipment so that the children can participate in more projects.

Haute Vallee School in St Helier has already benefitted from the initiative: “We are delighted that Bedell Group and the Jersey Farmers’ Union have joined forces to sponsor this scheme. Growing our own food on the school allotment takes our healthy eating project one stage further, combining the enjoyable practical experience of gardening with learning about how vegetables are grown. Many of our students are fascinated by shoots appearing from seeds and vegetable crops maturing to that satisfying stage of being ready to pick and eat,” says head teacher Bob Fairhurst.

“Having been involved for several years in generating interest in vegetable growing among Jersey children by organising inter-school competitions we look forward to working with Bedell to further develop our network and ideas,” says Kevin Herve of the Jersey Farmers’ Union.

“We are committed to supporting initiatives that genuinely help the communities in which we live. Little Green Fingers is about much more than funding. Not every Jersey child is lucky enough to have their own garden. This scheme focuses on giving children enjoyment of planting and nurturing seeds and plants, and also provides educational tools that complement existing school resources relating to food and the environment,” says Alan Dart, Partner at Bedell Group.