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Saturday Kitchen’s celebrity chef James Martin is swapping his spatula for a spade when he today launches (Wednesday 26th & Thursday 27th September) a new initiative for Yorkshire Water which aims to set the precedent for outdoor learning in Primary Schools.

Yorkshire Water's One Million Green Fingers initiative is being launched to coincide with British Food Fortnight* and the Government’s Year of Food and Farming in Education.** The project aims to utilise the company’s thousands of volunteers to create over 350 sustainable school gardens and one million green fingers by 2010, alongside this it will achieve the objectives of British Food Fortnight by encouraging chefs to help children learn about cooking.

Launching with a two-day simultaneous gardening challenge hundreds of the company's volunteers will work together with gardening hit squads, local Primary Schools and James Martin to transform outdoor areas into sustainable school gardens.

Research conducted by national school grounds charity, Learning Through Landscapes, has highlighted that learning outside the classroom can help to inspire and motivate pupils. Schools which have created outdoor learning areas reported that seventy three per cent of their pupils had shown behavioural improvement, while eighty five per cent said that the gardens had increased healthy active play.

By creating gardens in schools, the campaign will provide children in Yorkshire with hands-on outdoor learning experiences in topical issues such as water conservation, sustainability, healthy eating, the environment and the food chain.

The campaign is also strongly aligned with the government’s commitment to the environment and climate change. A One Million Green Fingers garden will stimulate schools to be more self-sufficient and encourage water conservation, through drought tolerant features and fitted water butts.

Vegetables grown in the allotments can be used in the school kitchens and composting bins will allow schools to create compost from their food and green waste – reducing the waste the school is sending to landfill.

James Martin is visiting the showcase schools throughout the duration of the two-day challenge to help children learn about where their food comes from and provide them with some hints and tips on what they can make with their vegetables!

James said: "It's great to be a part of the Yorkshire Water campaign - a lot has been said of children and eating habits over the last few years. I feel this is the only way we will get young children involved in food. Gardens and growing products, give kids a chance to interact with all their senses - touch, feel, sight, smell and at the very end, taste. This is how I got involved with food in the first place and commend Yorkshire Water for taking a giant step forward."

Corporate Affairs manager Richard Sears said: “One Million Green Fingers continues the legacy of Yorkshire Water’s successful community initiative Cool Schools*** by addressing other major societal issues such as healthy eating, climate change, water conservation, food education and sustainability.

“What makes the campaign unique is the commitment of our volunteers to work closely with schools on an ongoing basis to create fantastic, beneficial outdoor growing areas.”

Schools across the region can register to take part in the campaign at www.greenfingers.yorkshirewater.com and if chosen, teams of Yorkshire Water employees and contract partners will help to create gardens in their schools following the September launch. The projects will range from allotment gardens and drought tolerant areas, to sensory gardens and woodland corners. All selected schools will receive £500 towards garden material and ongoing support and advice from Learning Through Landscapes.

ENDS


Notes to Editors:

For further information on the campaign, or interview opportunities please contact Aimee Laycock or Leanda Trethewey on 01274 692435.

References
*britishfoodfortnight.co.uk
**yearoffoodandfarming.org.uk
***The Cool Schools initiative was launched in 2002 by Yorkshire Water to tackle the problem of dehydration in children. The campaign installed more than 1400 water coolers in over 750 primary schools around Yorkshire.

Picture Caption: James Martin gets stuck in for One Million Green Fingers

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Yorkshire Water in the following categories: Children & Teenagers, Health, Home & Garden, Environment & Nature, Food & Drink, Education & Human Resources, for more information visit http://pressreleasewire.responsesource.com/about.