Students behind their stall on Ridley Road. Photograph: School Food Matters

Secondary school students from Hackney tried their hand at market-trading last week, selling school-grown fruit and vegetables to customers.

Dozens of pupils drummed up business at Ridley Road Market in Dalston as part of an initiative promoting healthy eating, cooking and sustainability in schools.

Students from four other London boroughs sold their fresh produce, including rhubarb, potatoes, spring onions and herbs, at their own local markets.

One said: “I loved trying out different marketing techniques and bartering with customers.”

Another added: “I feel like I’m on The Apprentice.”

Pupils enjoyed bartering with customers. Photograph: School Food Matters

The programme, Know your Onions, is run by charity School Food Matters, which provides students with experience of growing and cooking their own food.

The free scheme, now in its fifth year, is led by experts including gardeners and cooking teachers, and also gives students access to a nearby market garden to watch professionals in the field.

This year, 30 pupils from three Hackney schools – COLA Shoreditch Park, Ickburgh School and COLA Hackney – took part in the programme, while more than 160 students across five boroughs involved in total.

School Food Matters development manager Dela Foster said: “Teenagers can be initially confused about why they should learn about food growing and cooking.

“But for many, visiting the farm is the moment when they see why this is important. Then when they taste the amazingly fragrant, spicy dishes they have created with vegetables, they start to understand the fun.

“And then, finally, market day gives them this incredible opportunity to interact with the public and see the value their community places on home-grown veg.”

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