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Hasler Speech - Edible Garden Project

SPEECH NOTES
HON MARIE HASLER
ASSOCIATE MINISTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
PRESENTATION GREEN RIBBON AWARD
KIDS EDIBLE GARDEN PROJECT
PAPANUI HIGH SCHOOL, LANGDON'S ROAD, CHRISTCHURCH
11.00AM, WEDNESDAY 21 JULY

Good morning everyone. Thank you Georgina Wormwald for those kind words of introduction.

It gives me great pleasure to be here today at Papanui High School and especially with the Kimi Ora Unit to present the Kids Edible Garden Project with their Green Ribbon Award.

A great deal of work has gone into this project and I would like to acknowledge those individuals and organisations who have been involved in the Kids Edible Garden Project over the past two years.

This includes school principals, teachers and caretakers, the many parents and volunteers and the gardeners and staff of Kids Edible Gardens. The Organic Garden City Trust, the National branch and the Canterbury branch of the Soil and Health Association, Crown Public Health, Zero Waste, Pacific Development and Conservation Trust, South Pacific Seeds and the Canterbury Seed Company as well as local community groups and businesses who have given valuable donations and support.

Thank you all.

The national Green Ribbon Award recognises the contributions and achievements made by groups and individuals towards achieving a healthy and sustainable environment.

The New Zealand environment is an important part of our heritage and cultural identity. As a nation we are formally committed to environmental sustainability, and each of us has a responsibility to protect our environment.

Learning to Care for Our Environment was adopted by the Government as its environmental education strategy in July 1997; recognising that we all have a part to play in sustaining the environment.

Environmental education is not just a priority for school children – it must be a lifetime commitment for us all.

The Strategy embraces a range of learning activities that inform people about the environment and how it can be protected.

The Strategy emphasises the need for partnerships between sectors, for better coordination among those involved in environmental education and for making better use of limited resources.

I am delighted to say environmental education is one strong reason for why the Kids Edible Garden project and our two other national winners, David Craig a farmer and landowner in Waiuku and Palmers Quarries in Dunedin, were selected for awards this year.

Also highly commended was the Water Services Unit of the Christchurch City Council, which regards environmental education as an important part of its role in caring for the city’s waterways.

As many of you here today are aware the Kids Edible Gardens project was started in 1997 by a group of volunteer parents, teachers and gardeners.

The project sets out to teach students about growing plants organically, building healthy soils, turning waste into compost as part of a school recycling scheme, and controlling pests by natural means.

And, of course, being able to eat what they grow is always a fun part of the process for the young people involved. I understand this involves students growing their own vegetables, herbs and fruit, with flowers grown as an adjunct.

This smart idea has been taken up by 20 Christchurch schools, which are supported by volunteers from many community groups, local businesses and health agencies.

The aim is for every Christchurch primary school to be a model and to promote practical environmentally sustainable principles. This involves producing zero waste through the three 'Rs' - reduce, reuse and recycle - creating edible gardens, producing compost, worm farming and integrating environmental education into the curriculum.

Schools all over the country are now showing interest is this most worthwhile venture.

It now gives me great pleasure to ask Frankie Dean to come forward and accept the Green Ribbon Award on behalf of the Kids Edible Garden project.

Congratulations and well done.

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