School vegie patch

School vegie patch
Universal Magazines

Croxton Special School promotes green thumbs in the playground.

Home Gardening

In this plastic fantastic world of ours we so proudly live in, there’s no denying how important it is to educate and provide our young ones with the right skills to survive in today’s world and without the need or desire to eat junk food. Yes, there may be more to education than just eating tomatoes fresh out of the garden. But what good is it to have three university degrees on the wall if you don’t know how to grow simple plants such as lettuce or parsley? And when have you heard of fastfood outlets ever garnishing your meal with fresh herbs, anyway?

Over the years, more and more schools all around Australia have been busy establishing edible gardens. Some may be lucky enough to have the full vegie garden set-up, with complete recycling and repurposing departments along with outdoor and indoor kitchens as well, while others may only be starting their dream garden. At Croxton Special School, gardening teacher Basil Natoli has turned his green thumb to helping the children learn more than how to plant magic beans rather than ordinary green beans; i.e developing their gardening skills and with them with greater job prospects and a better quality of life.

It doesn’t end there, though, because at Croxton Special School they have taken it a step further. It’s not just a vegie garden for the kids to enjoy and learn in; the neighbouring community as well as Darebin Council have become involved, too. Initially, what began as a simple school vegie garden has evolved into established plots shared by the surrounding residents, who take pleasure in growing their own produce as well as helping to maintain the school gardens.

Unlike most schools, Croxton’s sports oval and playground are common areas that are open and accessible by the public any time of the week and during school hours, the areas are supervised by the teachers for security and safety reasons. All this is possible because of the support of Darebin Council and Urban Tree Management Co-ordinator, Ashley Tenson, who has helped to implement Basil’s concepts along with his latest request for a fruit orchard in the playground area, so everybody can enjoy the summer shade provided by the tree while indulging in some fresh fruit straight off the branches.

Publish at: , last modify at: 30/06/2013

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