Gardening

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Gardening: from little things…

Watch what the little experts have to say about gardening!

Kids are more likely to eat food they have grown themselves. Students at schools involved in Fresh Tastes are learning about growing fresh fruit and vegies in their school garden through the ‘Growing Food’ action area of Fresh Tastes. They might be setting up their school garden to be used more widely across the school and in the classroom. School kitchen gardens can teach students about good nutrition, foster respect for the environment, and stimulate social interaction and communication skills. They provide a great opportunity to be active too!

Schools who are involved in Fresh Tastes can access gardening support, resources, professional learning and discounts to give students and families hands-on experience growing fresh produce. If your school isn’t yet involved in Fresh Tastes, contact us today.

Resources

Actsmart Schools: Actsmart is a specialised free program which can support schools in how to set up or maintain school kitchen gardens with links to the classroom and can help Fresh Tastes schools achieve their growing food goals. There’s also a plant selector tool on their website where you can find the best plants to use in the school garden or at home.

Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation – Healthy Kids: includes family-centred advice based on the Foundation's recipes, garden activities and vegie-growing tips. The Foundation also has resources called Tools for Teachers which include units, lesson plans and activity starters linked to the Australian Curriculum.

ACT Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) scheme: solar panels are installed at every ACT public school. The excess energy generated by these panels earns the schools an income, as part of the ACT Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) scheme. Schools can re-invest this money into further sustainability efforts, such as setting up a sustainable food garden. To learn more, contact Schools Capital Works on 02 6207 8364.

Canberra Organic Growers Society: local society where you can find Canberra specific tips for starting or maintaining your vegie garden at home, and local gardening news and events.

Rodney’s PlantsPlus: their website has gardening fact sheets, local news and tips for the Canberra region.

The Green Shed: head out to their Mugga Lane or Mitchell locations to purchase cheap gardening materials and equipment to get growing at school and home. Schools involved in Fresh Tastes can get equipment and materials from The Green Shed for free.

Sustainable Gardening Australia: ideas for making gardens more environmentally friendly, along with information about growing edible bush tucker.

Primary Connections: Fully linked to the Australian Curriculum: Science, the Primary Connections ‘Watch it Grow!’ and ‘Plants in Action’ units will create a sense of wonder in students and an appreciation of plants as they investigate the process of germination, the stages in a plant’s life cycle and the things plants need for growth.

Australian Organic Schools: Australian Organic Schools is a free online education program that doesn’t just help the teachers and students at Australian Schools set up a garden – it teaches them the necessary food-growing knowledge and skills they’ll need to make the most of their new garden.

Kitchen Gardens:  This website offers some brilliant tools and ideas for teachers and students looking to grow and cook their own food. 

Getting Involved

So, how can you get involved to support your school’s kitchen garden?

Teachers:

  • Find out who your school’s Fresh Tastes Coordinator is and join your school’s Fresh Tastes action group.
  • Think about ways you could use your school’s garden in your current teaching plan. There are plenty of gardening activities which can be integrated into different Key Learning Areas of the Australian Curriculum.
  • Find out if your school owns copies of the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation’s Tools for Teachers resources and use them to plan lessons involving the garden.
  • Look out for professional learning opportunities about gardening with students, go along and then share what you leant with other staff members.
  • Wherever possible, use food grown at school in hands-on cooking classes and in the school canteen.
  • Visit other school or community gardens to be inspired and learn from their experiences.
  • Make the most of your school community by finding people with gardening skills, equipment and materials.
  • Encourage families to grow food at home by sending seedlings home with students.
  • Sell the garden produce at school pick-up or drop-off time to raise funds to put back into Fresh Tastes activities in your school.
  • Make the garden an exciting space by encouraging students and the community to create artworks and decorations.
  • Seek out school fundraising activities where students can sell vegetable or plant growing kits.
  • Many schools find the garden is a great place for children who are disengaged and some schools open gardens at break times for students to help out.
  • Link with a local high school that has Horticulture as a subject.

Parents:

  • Spread the word! Parents and volunteers are often the backbone of any school gardening activity and to help with maintenance.
  • Ask your school if they need donations of tools, soil, rocks, seeds, seedlings, watering cans, mulch, fencing and more. If so, organise a school wide donation drive.
  • Start a small vegie and/or herb garden at home. Get your kids to help with choosing vegies, planting and garden maintenance. Ask them questions about their experience gardening at school.
  • Offer to help purchase plants for the school using vouchers. If the school is focusing on Growing Food they may have gift vouchers to use, but no time to go out and buy plants.
Page last updated on: 17 Sep 2019