Teachers at Mary Valley State College will be struggling to keep their students in the classroom thanks to a new Permaculture school garden program starting on the 23rd of this month. Leonie Shanahan of Edible School Gardens has now set up 15 schools garden projects on the Sunshine Coast and the kids say it’s a winner.
One boy said after hugging his teacher “I’m not clever in the classroom but I’m really good in the garden, I love gardening.”
On day one of the 12 month program the students will learn all about permaculture design, looking at other examples throughout Australia for inspiration in designing their own Edible School Garden.
Once the students come up with their own garden design, we encourage parents, grandparents and friends to come and help them create their ‘instant edible garden make over’. In one day they will turn an unused area of about 10m x 10m into a productive masterpiece. From there Leonie teaches students about Permaculture.
From herbs that they are unfamiliar with like brahmi and their favourite chocolate mint, to everyday salads like kale and lettuce, grazing students will learn all facets of Permaculture and organic gardening including making compost, setting up worm farms and using their byproduct, growing food from seeds, seedlings and cuttings, organic pest control and how to harvest food.
Leonie says the highlight of the garden is harvest days when all the students get to cook, often with a local chef. “We prepare a big celebration lunch for all to share together, we will often have this as a festive day and have musicians and dances to add to the special occasion of growing our own fresh organic food to share.”
“Parents are always welcomed in the garden to work with the students and learn all about permaculture. Teaching children the connection between food and the garden is so important and eating from the garden isn’t just pleasurable but also an important part of the learning experience.”
- Outdoor Classrooms, A Handbook for School Gardens – by Carolyn Nuttall and Janet Millington
- Seed to Seed – Food Gardens in Schools – by Jude Fanton and Jo Immig