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Vegetable garden boosts learning

MEDIA RELEASE
Horizons Regional Council

Tuesday 27 May, 2014

Vegetable garden boosts learning

Monrad Intermediate School students have four new vegetable garden plots and two new compost bins thanks to a community grant from Horizons Regional Council.

Monrad’s food tech teacher Hilary Marshall says the idea of creating a vegetable garden came about last year when she realised how much waste the school kitchen was producing.

“We started by getting a recycling bin for the kitchen which made a big difference but we had nowhere to put our food scraps. This soon led to the idea of having a compost bin and vegetable garden to spread it on,” she says.

With no budget to spend on this goal Ms Marshall was encouraged to learn about Horizons community grants from an ex-teacher.

“The $400 we received from Horizons built four vegetable plots, two compost bins and paid for the plot filling. We’re so thankful for this funding as we’ve been able to reduce costs and waste, create our own fertiliser with the compost and supplement brought produce we use in class,” says Ms Marshall.

“It’s fantastic that we have this resource available for students to learn from. They provide the opportunity for cooking students to pick fresh vegetables, learn how to wash and de-root them, and try vegetables they haven’t before.”

As the vegetables aren’t ready to be eaten yet, in the meantime the plots are enabling two Year 7 students to complete a fertiliser-focused science project.

“James Woodcock and Walter Johnson are looking at how different types of fertiliser impact the growth of vegetables and will use this information to complete their science project next term,” says Ms Marshall.

Horizons environmental educator Helen Thomas says it’s fantastic the vegetable garden plots and compost bins are being used for both sustainable and educational purposes.

“It is great to see Monrad School taking the initiative and exploring an aspect of reducing waste and encouraging green fingers,” says Mrs Thomas.

“The fact that they are able to tie in multiple focus areas, like a science project, really lends credit to this being a sustainable and educational venture that will have a big impact.”

Ms Marshall says she is currently maintaining the plots but hopes to establish a core group of keen gardeners to take over as the area develops.

Ends

Editors note: Horizons’ community grants programme is now in its third year with grants available to support community-led projects that help in making the Manawatu-Wanganui Region a great place to live, work and play. The 2014 round will be open later in the year.

Community groups, schools, early childhood centres and iwi/hapu groups are all eligible to apply for a grant from the $20,000 pool. These will be awarded to projects that enhance the Region and encourage more people to engage with the natural environment.

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