The competition, which is supported by the Augustine Courtauld Trust, asks secondary schools in Essex to research and put forward a project proposal to either create a new, or enhance an existing food growing area at school. With a £500 budget, the ultimate aim of the project should be to encourage students to lead healthy lifestyles by learning about growing and using fresh fruit and veg.

Entries were received from across the county covering a wide range of food growing ideas.  Due to the high standard of the proposals, the judges had a particularly difficult time coming to a decision between the shortlisted entries.  Proposals were evaluated against a set of criteria including the feasibility of the project, the involvement of students and the wider community, how the project would be managed and sustained, and lastly the impact it would have.

The Ramsey Academy’s project proposal focused on the effective use of a polytunnel on their school grounds.  The judges were impressed with the way the school had embraced food growing activities and the progress it had made within a short period of time.  They were also impressed with Ramsey Academy’s plan to utilise the resource across the curriculum, the way the school contributes to community initiatives such as Halstead in Bloom, and how they were working towards achieving awards from the RHS Campaign for School Gardening.   The school’s fundraising ethos was considered outstanding!

Runners-up include the Plume School in Maldon, whose proposal focused on the creation of a dedicated fruit growing area and Shenfield High School who planned to create a vertical garden.  Both schools win £100 in gardening vouchers.

The Ramsey Academy is now able to use the £500 prize to implement its project proposal, and will receive a further £100 in gardening vouchers upon completion. Steve Pittuck, who submitted the proposal on behalf of the school, was delighted with the result. “The polytunnel project gives us the range to fit our growing within school term times. We will be able to over-winter plants and increase the volume and diversity of our crops. Gardening is exciting at Ramsey!”

The Use the Plot competition was launched by Edible Essex for the first time this year and follows the incredible success of its primary school competition – The Packed Lunch Plot.  The aim of Edible Essex is to increase the number of people in the county growing, sourcing and using locally produced food.  Both competitions are a great way of promoting both healthy eating and the growing of fruit and veg in the school grounds or at home.

Edible Essex would like to thank all the schools who entered the competition. 



The Ramsey Academy – Halstead.

Project: To purchase, erect and effectively use a polytunnel at our school allotment.

The school will receive £500 towards purchasing the polytunnel. 


Runner up

Plume School – Maldon

Project: The creation of a dedicated fruit growing area.

The school wins £100 in gardening vouchers.



Shenfield High School

Project: The creation of a vertical garden.

The school wins £100 in gardening vouchers.