GROW EAT LEARN
Why have an Edible School Gardens Program?
The Edible School Garden Program is so much more than just growing some vegies. The edible school garden is a garden where the soil is full of life and the plants are bursting with nutrients and minerals. We teach the children how to create healthy soils and grow healthy food. The students eat the food from this garden and it is 100% good for them - real food
When you have vibrant, living, healthy soil, you have food bursting with health and that is the food that we need our children to eat - food that is going to sustain their young growing bodies and minds. It is also an opportunity for children to experience a variety of new foods and flavours.
This program empowers children for life with the knowledge of how to grow organic food and enjoy it.
How does this successful program operate?
First students learn about permaculture and design. Then
each student produces their own garden design which they present
to the class. The class then decides on the final
Donations of materials and landscaping supplies are sourced and a date set for the set up day.
Set up day is an important school community day involving parents, grandparents, friends, students and teachers. It is a very busy day for all as in this one day we implement the whole garden design. This usually includes a banana circle, two or more arches, a worm bath, a worm tower, several no dig gardens of various shapes and sizes, a herb spiral, compost area, etc.
Then we can relax for a bit as we need to wait 2 weeks for the no dig garden beds to settle.
Planting is another exciting day - usually 300 seedlings are planted in the first day.
For the next 10 months whilst tending the garden the students will learn much more about permaculture and organic gardening, from seed saving, growing mulch to cooking up the food they have grown. Harvest (and feast) day is another milestone. The children are proud of their achievement and quite literally enjoy the fruits of all their hard work.
At the end of the edible school gardens program, students and teachers should be empowered with the knowledge of how to continue their garden using permaculture practices. The program includes an information manual describing the processes used.
From my experience over the past decade at 20 schools and speaking with schools I've worked with, I believe that the ideal situation is to run the Edible School Gardens program for a 12 month period, either one day a week or one day a fortnight. In 12 months you can work with all seasons, record all the information about planting, caring for plants, harvesting, seed saving, propagating, composting, worm farms and green manure crops, keep a journal and create reference folders so the information is all there for the teachers, parents, grandparents and students to empower them with knowledge and confidence so that they too will become part of the program and use the garden as a living classroom.