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Story of “Peter Rabbit” to inspire a new generation to grow their own vegetables.
April 14, 2022
To mark 120 years since the publication of Beatrix Potter’s children’s classic, “The Tale of Peter Rabbit,” publisher Penguin Random House Children’s has announced a three-year partnership with non-profit garden designers Grow2Know on behalf of Frederick Warne & Co. (owners of The World of Peter Rabbit).
Since the first commercial printing of “The Tale of Peter Rabbit” in 1902, the mischievous bunny in a blue jacket has gone on to become one of the most recognizable children’s characters. More than 250 million copies of the original “Tale” have sold globally, inspiring a TV series and film franchise, as well as nature trails, immersive family attractions, live events and an award-winning publishing and consumer products program.
A non-profit dedicated to reconnecting people with nature and each other through the creation of community gardens, Grow2Know reclaims blank spaces and transforms them into gardens designed to contribute to residents’ health, happiness and well-being. The seed for Grow2Know was sown by North Kensington resident, semi-professional footballer, community activist and TV presenter Tayshan Hayden-Smith, in response to the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy in 2017, when residents came together to green up spaces in the area to uplift and unify the community through nature – inspiring the creation of the Grenfell Garden of Peace.
The new Grow with Peter Rabbit initiative has been developed by Penguin Random House Children’s in partnership with Grow2Know to bring the benefits of gardening and spending time in nature to as many families as possible. Drawing on Peter Rabbit’s playful nature, as well as his insatiable appetite for vegetables, Grow2Know’s founders – THayden-Smith, garden designer and TV presenter Danny Clarke (aka ‘The Black Gardener’) and Ali Yellop, agriculturist, chef and herbalist – will design and deliver three Peter Rabbit community garden makeovers between now and 2024.
The first Peter Rabbit-inspired garedn is in development in a disused plot attached to St. Clement and St. James CE Primary School, Kensington: a school in the heart of the community where Grow2Know was founded, and the borough in which Peter Rabbit’s creator, Beatrix Potter, was born on July 26, 1866. The garden will be unveiled just before the school closes for the summer holidays.
Interactive areas for children to read, play, grow and learn, inspired by the adventures of Peter Rabbit and friends, have been incorporated into the garden, which can be used by the local community to host workshops and events from this summer onwards.
“Through this partnership with Penguin Random House Children’s, we hope to raise awareness of the social, psychological and environmental benefits of gardening and nature, as well as highlighting the need to provide children with the opportunity for nature play from a young age,” says Hayden-Smith. “It's been inspiring to learn about Beatrix Potter's work as a passionate conservationist, the legacy of her writing and environmental activism. This is in line with Grow2Know's philosophy and commitment to creating hope and meaningful change within communities through a shared creative process – with children and young people at the core of it.”
“We are very grateful to Grow2Know and Penguin Random House Children’s for making a garden at our school,” says Sarah Bouette, executive head teacher, St. Clement and St. James CE Primary School, Kensington. “Many of the children in this area do not have gardens at home, so access to green space is of great importance to us. We know they flourish when they are outside, and they already take great pleasure in growing vegetables in our edible garden, as well as sharing books in our reading corner. The new Peter Rabbit Garden will offer hope and a sanctuary for children and their families in North Kensington, many of whom have endured so much in the past few years.”
“As custodians of The World of Peter Rabbit and publisher of Beatrix Potter’s tales, we’re in the unique position of being able to use Beatrix Potter’s timeless stories to effect change and drive positive, social impact,” says Izzy Richardson, gobal brands director, Penguin Random House Children’s. “Grow2Know is a brilliant organization and a perfect partner for this anniversary year. The passion, knowledge and design expertise of its team, led by Tayshan, Danny and Ali, have enabled us to launch an initiative that both honors the legacy of Beatrix Potter and brings Peter Rabbit to life in a playful and meaningful way for families across the U.K. We are thrilled to be working in partnership with Grow2Know to deliver outdoors spaces to schools in some of the U.K.’s most disadvantaged communities and, in turn, inspire young children to enjoy and learn from the benefits of nature.”
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