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Edible School Gardens

19 May 2014

Edible school gardens provide numerous benefits to both students and the wider community. Now, thanks to various school gardening programmes our next generation of gardeners are getting an excellent start.

by Martin Crabb
Senior Business Development Manager, Programmed Property Services

Edible School Gardens

The once revered, humble vegetable patch is gaining popularity and school students are rediscovering some of the enjoyment past generations have had.

As part of their curriculum, many schools and kindergartens are establishing areas for growing edible produce.

Edible school gardens are a wonderful way to use the schoolyard as an outdoor classroom. Outdoors, the senses can be stimulated. The nose can enjoy the scented herbs. The ear can hear the quietness interrupted by a chirping bird. The eye can observe insect activity. The hand can pick ripe fruit and vegetables, and, taste is satisfied with all of the flavour from organically grown produce.

Edible school gardens allow children to enjoy the outdoors, and develop organisational skills by working in a group. Plus, children can gain real hands-on knowledge and experience in the development of a sustainable environment.

Additionally, edible school gardens can play a community role as well. One school in Adelaide, for instance, is a civic steward in providing vegetables to make soup for a city homeless centre.

Edible gardens can also provide an opportunity to celebrate our cultural diversity. Where once the Australian and New Zealand diet was based mainly on its British and Irish heritage, today we regularly enjoy a great variety of different types of cuisines. With our multicultural school communities, students can learn to appreciate the variety of herbs, vegetables and fruit originating from different cultures around the world.

You don’t need a great deal of space to create an edible garden at your school. If space is limited, herbs and vegetables can be grown in wooden and plastic crates, or recycled containers.

Can’t wait to get started? For quick results this time of year, plant radishes, bok choy, perennial lettuce, spring onions, and snow peas.

Plus, your school may be eligible to apply for a grant to help create your garden. A few of these are listed below.

Whole Kids Foundation
Landcare Australia
List of some grants available in New Zealand

Want an edible garden at your school, but not sure where to start? We can help, contact Programmed today.

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