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Our involvement with School Gardens
Anyone who criticises teaching children vegetable gardening on the grounds that it is some sort of menial, dirty, low brow, activity not worthy of including in an educational syllabus has completely missed the point. These detractors also consider agriculture as some sort of lesser science at tertiary level. But just how wrong can you be? Even if you discount all the joyful and amazing benefit to be gleaned from growing food, harvesting, cooking and then eating it together around a shared table there is still a wealth to be learnt from teaching by growing a garden. In 1992 when we ran a small vegetable plot in the grounds of Gundaroo Public School it was done with the express purpose of showing how a multidisciplinary subject like horticulture/agriculture was capable of covering every single learning outcome demanded in the primary school science curriculum at that time. We delved into maths, chemistry, physics, design, botany, zoology, architecture, multi-culturalism, indigenous issues, ecology, environmental science and much more. Just how are we to teach our children to deal with the pressure of a rapidly changing world with an uncertain and potentially horrible future? Giving them an early grounding in a subject that deals with complexity, forces them to ask questions, gives them real problems to solve and best of all combines the arts and the sciences in one discipline has to be a very good start.
In order to support schools who wish to, or already have, put in place kitchen gardens Allsun farm will donate a copy of the CD-ROM
‘Growing Annual Vegetables’ .
Gundaroo Tiller would be pleased to donate some hand hoes, suitable for children to these gardens, and offer schools discoount prices on professional quality tools tailor made at an appropriate size for children.
One of the most important things that we learnt on the ‘Growing the Growers’ trip was that when a school garden is feeding produce into a teaching kitchen the teachers working in the garden need to have some experience in small scale, diverse, organic market gardening. It is not an easy task providing dependable, consistent, high quality fruit and vegetables week in week out throughout the school year. We have been doing just that to restaurants and to families via our ‘backyard in a bag’ for the best part of 20 years and are happy to talk to parents, gardeners and students about the planning that is necessary in a production garden.