Over the past 18 months the program has consolidated as the garden has adopted an approach which is more engaging of the children's input.
Students not only tender the plants and water the garden, but we are developing more activities growing vegetables from seed.
We grow and harvest a variety of different produce -- depending on the season --from herbs like parsley, basil, mint and dill; to lettuces, zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes, cabbages, beans, carrots, spring onions, kale, peas, loofahs and sunflowers. We keep a lavender hedge, run a worm farm and share our activities with a hive of stingless native bees.
Harvested produce is currently taken by the children or supplied to the school tuckshop.
While a small group of students maintain the garden most school days, on Thursdays approximately 200 children, from all levels, attend the patch for garden based activities.
It can be full on.
While we originally began supplying a couple of local eateries with fresh produce we now plant with student engagement in mind. Exciting plants are popular like huge sunflowers and loofahs. Scents and colours always draw focus. But most of all it is the thrilling growth of vegetation that excites the children the most.
To plant a seed or seedling and each week monitor its progress, undermines the supermarket presumption that food comes prepackaged or lives on shelving.
We know that as the children's' interactions with the plants rise and they take food samples or potted plants home with them, diets are changing as the 'greens' on offer seem to have their own histories that the children discover through their gardening time..
In the past we have had cookup events run by a trained chef (one of Jamie Oliver's in fact) with garden produce and ,occasionally, the tuck shop offers a garden centred menu.
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