Leeds Kirkgate Market: Primary school children become market traders for the day selling school-grown produce

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Leeds primary school children became market traders for a day, selling their own school-grown fruit and vegetables to the public.

Children from a eight primary schools came together to sell everything from potatoes, carrots, chard and herbs to raspberries and more at Leeds Kirkgate Market on Thursday (July 6).

The annual programme, called Young Marketeers, is run by the charity School Food Matters, and gives children the opportunity to grow food from seed with the help of expert gardeners, before harvesting and selling their fresh and tasty produce to their local community. The charity also runs a number of other school projects and works to improve children’s access to healthy and sustainable meals during their time at school.

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This year, children from Alder Tree Primary, Armley Park Primary, Carr Manor Primary, St Augustine’s Catholic Primary, St Philips Catholic Primary, West Oaks Special School, Harehills Primary and Broomfield Special Inclusion School took part in the sale.

Charity School Food Matters is running its annual programme Young Marketeer, where children from a number of primary schools are coming together and being market traders for a day selling their school-grown produce at Leeds Kirkgate Market.Charity School Food Matters is running its annual programme Young Marketeer, where children from a number of primary schools are coming together and being market traders for a day selling their school-grown produce at Leeds Kirkgate Market.
Charity School Food Matters is running its annual programme Young Marketeer, where children from a number of primary schools are coming together and being market traders for a day selling their school-grown produce at Leeds Kirkgate Market.

All money raised through the sale will be donated to Meanwood Valley Urban Farm, a local farm and charity that supports food education in the community. The farm turned 40 in 2020 but because of the pandemic and resulting nationwide lockdown, the charity-run organisation was unable to celebrate with the public and almost faced closure due to an unprecedented loss of income.

Dela Foster, development manager at School Food Matters, said: “Over the 12 years we’ve been running this much-loved programme, thousands of children have had the opportunity to learn about food through hands-on cooking and food growing. It’s important that children know that food starts in the soil, not in the supermarket.

“It’s also about reconnecting children with nature. As one of the pupils said, ‘planting is our own way of communicating with the earth’. Clearly this is not only a joyful programme, it’s a vital one for children’s health and wellbeing.”

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This is the fourth year the charity has delivered Young Marketeers outside of London, where the programme began in 2012. School Food Matters is calling out to local organisations and businesses interested in promoting food education and sustainability to get involved and ensure the programme can continue in Leeds both next year and beyond.

Find out more information about Young Marketeers and School Food Matters via its website.