Bernice Hurst, Contributing Editor, RetailWire mentioned the “Let Children Grow” campaign in the UK jointly promoted by The Independent on Sunday newspaper and the highly respected gardening charity, the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS). Launched in 2007, the RHS Campaign for School Gardening, sponsored by the food and grocery retailer Waitrose, is a nationwide scheme designed to encourage schools to create gardens and teach children the skills of growing plants.
It is described as “an ambitious initiative to encourage the nation’s children to grow their own fruit and vegetables”. The programme targets deprived areas, particularly those with combinations of poor health, low income and levels of aspiration. By working with young people, the idea is to improve their health while teaching them what to eat and where food comes from. RHS research suggests it can “help improve academic achievement, behavior and confidence among pupils”.
According to the Independent on Sunday, most of the children “are learning for the first time about gardening, and with it the enjoyment of fresh air, appreciation of the environment, healthy eating and in turn the prospect of a longer life.”
Bernice Hurst asks, “Can/should retailers encourage and sponsor such education programs to inspire consumer loyalty?”
As far as I can tell, if there is a country in love with its gardens, it is the UK, so this should be a hit with the parents and the teachers.
Pre-teens certainly don’t mind getting dirt under their fingernails, so it should appeal to them as well.
Whether this has any tangible impact on Waitrose’s image and business remains to be seen but, then, some things should simply be done because they are the right thing to do.