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East London pupils take part in growing concern

PUBLISHED: 18:02 13 October 2010

Left to right - Afsana Begum, 11, Malina Khanom, 15, Anisa Khatun, 11, Humayra Ali, 15, Aniqa Liza, 11

Left to right - Afsana Begum, 11, Malina Khanom, 15, Anisa Khatun, 11, Humayra Ali, 15, Aniqa Liza, 11

Carmen Valino

STUDENTS at a Whitechapel school are using their own greenhouse to grow food for friends and staff and they could undercut high-street supermarkets into the bargain.

MULBERRY School for Girls in Richard Street recently installed a hydroponic greenhouse system and Year 7 and 8 pupils are now planting vegetables including varieties of lettuces, spinach, chillies and parsley.

They will then be marketed and sold by Year 12 pupils to students on the school’s hospitality and catering course, who in turn offer a catering service to staff.

Jasmin Nahar, 15, a member of the business arm of the Energy To Grow project, said: “We need to do some market research, to see what other people sell these vegetables for and then work out if it’s reasonable for the school to pay this amount.”

Deborah Colvin, the head of science and technology who is overseeing the project, said: “The catering girls get their food from Sainsbury’s so we have to undercut them, basically.”

The project has already been selected as one of nine finalists, from 2,000 entrants, for the Rolls-Royce Science Prize which led to an award of £6000.

If Energy To Grow is chosen as the best project next year, they could win a further £15,000 to invest..

Ms Colvin said: “If we win that, then the sky would be the limit.”

Maliha Khanom, 15, confidently predicted: “W are going to win.”

The school is currently negotiating funding and seeking planning permission to also install solar panels in December. which would allow the greenhouse to become fully self-sufficient.

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