Students swapped the classroom for a day at the market place where they held a stall selling organic vegetables after weeks of getting mud under their fingers.

The 120 youngsters from The Lammas School, Norlington School and Belmont Park School, all in Waltham Forest, rubbed shoulders with professional traders at Walthamstow Market on Thursday, July 5.

As part of the Know Your Onions programme, they spent the past term planting and tending to courgettes, broad beans, shallots and rainbow chard at vegetable patches in their schools.

And their hard work paid off when their produce proved to be a hit with locals and their stall was completely sold-out by the end of the day.

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Shabaz Hussain, who has sold goods at Walthamstow Market for 16 years, said: “The students had a great sales technique – good voices and excellent manner.

“It’s definitely a good experience for young people and it was fun helping them.”

The programme is run by School Food Matters and all proceeds from the sale of foods go back into schools.

With rising obesity across the capital – where a staggering 37 per cent of 10 and 11 year-olds are either obese or overweight – the charity is on a mission to ensure children enjoy healthy foods and know where these come from.

The day at the market was the culmination of weeks of work by the students who were paid a visit by professional chef Ruth Quinlan to learn about cooking healthy meals.

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Jeff Lastiotis, deputy head teacher at Belmont Park School said: “This project has been an amazing help and the selection of different experiences has boosted engagement in many aspects of our curriculum.”

Dela Foster, project manager at School Food Matters, added: “This project is about reconnecting young people with a fundamental part of life - where food comes from, how it is grown and how it is cooked.

“Whilst diet-related diseases, such as obesity, are reaching crisis levels in UK, we must help our children not only take an interest in food, but learn how much fun can be had from growing and cooking their own food”.

Mayor of Waltham Forest, Cllr Sally Littlejohn, praised the students for the commitment they demonstrated on the long-term programme.

She said: “I’m very impressed with the interest of the students and that they have managed to grow and sell their own produce. We all need to know where our food comes from for good health.”