The Purple Potato Project came to life last month when three Northern Irish businesses combined forces.

The initiative was created to encourage primary schoolchildren to get growing.

Kinder Garden Cooks is a Lisburn-based enterprise, which teaches children from age three years and up about cooking and gardening.

Next on the team is organics recycling firm Natural World Products (NWP), which converts local household food and garden waste into organic, peat-free compost.

NWP is headquartered in Dunmurry and processes about 200,000t of food and garden waste annually.

Co Down-based Patch Seed Potatoes is also part of the initiative.

Part of McCreight Potatoes Ltd, the family-run business focus on the production and supply of premium seed potatoes for UK, Ireland and export markets.

Pupils from Friends’ Prep school in Lisburn help to launch the Purple Potato Project

The Purple Potato Project will see 280 school pupils across the Lisburn area growing their own nutritious food, with each participating child receiving a bag of new leaf compost from NWP and a newly-bred purple seed potato from Patch Seed Potatoes.

Kinder Garden Cooks managing director Sharon McMaster said the initiative will enable children to continue learning about growing, despite the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions.

She commented: “It is great to be able to launch this initiative with schools where we would normally be running our gardening clubs.

“The Purple Potato Project is just one of our ideas as we seek to continue supporting schools and their teachers with horticultural know how and opportunities, with the help of our volunteering team, helping them to de develop outdoor spaces for ease of use.

“Wishing all the kids the best of luck with the purple potatoes and we look forward to returning to gardening with pupils in school in the future.”

NWP’s chief executive Colm Warren also expressed how pleased his team are to once again collaborate with Kinder Garden Cooks on a fantastic educational initiative.

He said: “We are rooted in the community, so it is particularly rewarding to know that our compost is being used to provide children with some fun and enjoyment during these very difficult times.

“It’s truly satisfying that the compost the children will be using has been generated utilising food and garden waste collected from the very communities the schools are located in."

Echoing this positive sentiment, Alex McCreight of Patch Seed Potatoes also commended Kinder Garden Cooks for its constant support of local schools and he too voiced his pride to be involved in this special gardening initiative.

“We really look forward to seeing how the children get on, hopefully they enjoy growing their own produce – and we are excited to hear their ideas for naming our new potato,” he said.

Alex also disclosed that the seed potato the schools have received is a brand-new variety of purple potato. That means it doesn’t have a name as of yet.

And so he invites all participating students to get creative and have a go at developing a fun and memorable name for this new variety.

Find out more about the educational initiative here.

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