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Organic gardens for urban school-kids

Green Party co-leader Rod Donald said today that a Green Party budget initiative to establish organic gardens in schools would teach kids that food comes out of the ground, not off a supermarket shelf.

Education Minister Trevor Mallard announced the funding in a speech to rural principals yesterday.

"I'm delighted that Mr Mallard has agreed to fund $150,000 for this project because it puts city kids in touch with the environment," said Mr Donald during a visit to Fendalton school in Christchurch which belongs to the Kids Edible Gardens programme. Mr Donald was accompanied by Labour MP Tim Barnett.

"This Green initiative has been inspired by the success of the Kids Edible Gardens which has taught children about more than just how to grow plants.

School gardens integrate into several areas of the school curriculum including science, technology, social studies, and health and physical education.

"Gardening has enabled teachers to integrate environmental education and other subjects in a hands-on way. Students learn valuable life skills such as growing food naturally, eating healthily and recycling waste, and the local community has also got involved in the project.

"If we can show children that growing vegetables organically is easy and fun, then we not only set them up with skills they can use later on, we also teach them about how to look after the world we live in ."

The funding will be used to develop resource materials and programmes so that more schools in more centres can get involved in organic gardening. The Christchurch City Council has actively supported the existing initiative and it is hoped that other local authorities will become involved once the resources are prepared.

Tenders will be called in the Education Gazette in September to choose a provider to implement the project.

"While the amount of money is small, the impact will be enormous because this programme will eventually touch thousands of kids.

"It's a real Green initiative, because it's providing kids with positive experiences when they are young so that they will respect and look after the environment when they are grown up."

Rod and Tim Barnett will be visiting the organic garden at Fendalton school,

168 Clyde Rd, Christchurch. 12.30 and 1pm, Friday 18 May

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