Children are setting up stalls to sell their fresh fruit and vegetables at Barking Market.

They are displaying produce grown in their school gardens to shoppers in the market place for two hours from noon on Thursday (July 4). 

It is part of a Young Marketeers programme run by the School Food Matters charity that gets youngsters growing food from seed with the help of expert gardeners, then harvesting the produce to sell.

Eight schools are taking part, selling things like potatoes, kale, beetroot, courgettes, cherries, blackcurrants and herbs — all grown in playground gardens.

“Our programme has been teaching children about where their food comes from,” School Food Matters organiser Dela Foster explained. “The children take part in planting, growing and harvesting to reconnect with nature, seeing food as more than something they can buy at the supermarket.”

The charity has been running school projects to promote healthy and sustainable meals since 2012. The projects recruit other organisations and businesses to help educate the next generation about food and sustainability.

“The children interact with the food they eat in a meaningful way,” Dela adds. “It’s these experiences and memories that stick with them throughout their time at school.”

The pupils who are getting ready for Barking Market on Thursday have also been learning to cook simple and cheap dishes in workshops run by the Make your Mark food education collective in Barking.

They are putting the marketing training they have had into practice, with all the money raised on the market stalls being donated to Plan Zheroes, a charity in Tottenham that distributes surplus food to people in need in north London.

A survey of the Young Marketeers programme last year found more than seven-out-of-ten children taking part had learned new gardening skills, with many discovering where food comes from who wanted to grow their own fruit or veg in the future.

School Food Matters runs education programmes for schools which aim to use the voices of children, parents and teachers as “food for thought” to help make national education policy and putting healthy eating on the political menu of the next government.