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let's talk about growing veg at home

So you've heard about the innocent sow & grow and you're thinking, 'I'd love to be able to grow my own veg but I don’t have a garden where I can grow anything.' We understand. The majority of us here at Fruit Towers live in city flats. If it weren’t for the occasional pictures of our smoothies sitting on some grass a lot of us might have long ago forgotten what a garden is.

But we've got news. You don’t need a garden to grow the occasional bit of veg. You just need something small and watertight that you can put soil in. Something like this.

'But I don't have any gardening tools,' you say.

Oh, ye of little faith. A watering can has been staring at you this entire time.

'Ah,' you say, as if you've finally got one over on us. 'I don’t have a trowel. A gardener is nothing without a trowel.'

And yet, using nothing but a decent knife (and lots of care), you suddenly find yourself holding a sturdy plastic trowel.

'This is all well and good,' you say. 'But because of my love for the children's picture book The Avocado Baby when I was growing up, I love avocados. What if I wanted to try and grow some of those?'

Then you'd get an avocado seed, stick four cocktail sticks inside it and suspend it over water like this.

After a while it'll sprout and then you just transfer it to a proper plant pot, stick it by the window and make sure to water it with the watering can we've already talked about.

'You truly have thought of everything,' you say. 'Almost as if you were typing this all out for me. And you’re all so good-looking too.'

Oh, stop it. You’ll make us blush.

a sow & grow update

Last month we brought back the innocent sow and grow to help 200,000 school kids across the UK learn to love healthy food by growing their own veg in school. Now here we are, a few weeks in, and schools are already lost amongst the cress.

There are still a few way that you can get involved. We’re giving away 5000 seed packs to help you get growing at home and you can still head here to be in with a chance of winning. You don’t even need space at home, an old innocent bottle ought to do the trick.

And if you’re a school (not you personally, that wouldn’t make sense) you can still use the hashtag #SowAndGrowUK on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram to enter our weekly competitions where we’re awarding drinks and other prizes. We’ve also got lessons lesson plans here to help out if you need them.

And we’re more than use to animals getting involved with the Big Knit so it’s brilliant to see the tradition carrying on with the sow & grow (with thanks to squidgypigs).

For even more, head to our sow & grow site or let us know through Twitter or Facebook how your growing is going.

Becky's visit to Cambodia

In December, our Becky went on holiday to Cambodia. Here she is on holiday, wearing a nice hat.

As well as going over to Cambodia to catch some winter sun and try on local hats, she also paid a visit to one of the projects the innocent foundation is working on with ADD International.

ADD International are a UK based disability rights organisation  who work as a major ally to the global disability movement. They partner with disability activists in Africa and Asia to help them access the tools, resources and support they need to build powerful movements for change.

ADD International is currently working to help women with disabilities in Cambodia, through providing loans and grants for farming training as well as advising on income management and talking to families and communities about disabilities to increase understanding. People with disabilities in Cambodia are often the poorest of the poor and are highly discriminated against. Disability has its own stigma present in every society but in parts of Cambodia discrimination towards disabled people can be particularly oppressive. Disabled people are often considered weak, worthless and in some cases, subhuman. Women with disabilities are marginalised and excluded to an even higher extent, discriminated against for both their gender and their impairment.

As part of this project, disability activists supported by ADD International run self-help groups where women meet weekly to share tips and get help if they need it. Becky went along to one these meetings so she could listen to any problems that might be having and they could ask her a few questions. The local chief even turned up, and asked how people with disabilities are treated in the UK. They found it inspirational that disabled people are integrated into society, and hoped that that could become a reality for Cambodia one day.

After the meeting, Becky went to meet a lady called Kem De. During the Khmer Rouge regime, Kem De was injured and, as a result, she can’t walk or dress herself. Her husband left her after she sustained her injuries, so she now lives with her elderly mother. Before the project, Kem De would lie on her wooden bed, alone for most of the day, saying she felt like a burden to her family.

Now that she’s involved in the farming project, her mother does the physical farming much closer to home, with Kem De directing her and looking after their finances. She is now on the third cycle of pig rearing and has more money than she did. She’s also been made a role model for the project within her community, meaning that other people come to her for advice. She’s much more included in the community and is much happier and more empowered as a result.

This three-year project with ADD International is funded by the innocent foundation, whose main mission is to help hungry people around the world. Most of the women Becky met in Cambodia were living on one meal a day before the project but now, with the money they’re earning, they can afford to eat much better. The innocent foundation hopes to reach many more hungry people so that they can take control of their lives and access enough food for themselves and their families.

the innocent sow and grow - how's the growing going?

As we mentioned last week, we’ve just brought the innocent sow and grow back to schools across the country to help 200,000 kids learn to love healthy food by growing their own in class. This week, we’d love to show you how their growing is going.

We’ve got these already impressive looking runner beans from Miss Ward’s Class at Pope John Paul II school in Ireland.

In Pine Class at St. Margarets decided to put their cress to good use by making it available in their school’s salad bar.

And Holme Valley School discovered that they had a rarely spotted ring of cress growing. Is this down to a rare astronomical event? Or some sort of woodland sprite? Or maybe they just sprinkled their seeds around the edge of the pot? Whatever the reason may be, we’ll be sure to keep an eye on it and let you know.

the smoothie's new clothes

Recently, we realised we hadn't updated our kids smoothie packaging in a long time. so, we decided to give it a bit of a makeover. Basically, we made it all colourful and put some really big fruit on it. Fancy.

 

While the new look has been a hit with most little ones, a lady called Jo got in touch to say that her autistic son, Zac, was struggling to adjust to the change. This was a big problem as our drinks had been the main source of fruit & veg in his diet. 

We wanted to help Jo and Zac, so we put our heads together and created a little pop-up book to explain things to him in an interactive way (which you can see in the photo above) . Jo got back to us to say that Zac loved the book, and was happily drinking our smoothies again. Absolute music to our ears.

We've since heard from a few parents of autistic children that their little ones are also finding it hard to adjust to the drinks' new look. If you think the book is something that could help them understand things a bit better, you can print out a copy from this pdf which also includes a few instruction on how to put it together.

We hope that helps but if you do have any more problems please drop us a message at hello@innocentdrinks.co.uk or call our bananaphone on 020 7993 3311