School garden teaches sustainable food production

FAHAN School is digging in to do its part for global sustainability through the establishment of its very own purpose-built fruit and vegetable garden.

Realising the potential for the empty space on the accessible rooftop of the Music School, Fahan staff and students carefully planned and constructed garden beds and cultivated their first crops.

Under the care of students, the garden saw the school produce its very own zucchinis, beans, corn, and rhubarb, as well as many fruit trees including lemons, lapin cherries and nashi pears.

Fahan School principal Tony Freeman said he was enthusiastic about the project and the benefits the garden brought to students and the whole school community.

“Our students, from kindergarten through to year 12, can use this space as an outdoor classroom,” he said.

“It allows for hands-on experience learning about food life-cycles, seasonality, sustainable planting and growing practices, including recycling and composting.”

Fahan students have embraced their new learning space, excitedly planning next season’s crops.

Once harvested, the fruit and vegetables can be used to create dishes during Food Technology classes, while surplus yield can be used by the school community.

All scraps are composted and used to renourish the soil, completing the life-cycle.

Fahan teacher Nic Goodwolf supports the learning opportunities the community garden provides and the links to the school curriculum.

Conducting classes in the garden where students gain valuable gardening and agricultural skills, Mr Goodwolf said students could learn about the true source of food.

“These concepts integrate through the school curriculum and engage students by complementing their subjects including science, maths, art and health,” he said.

Year five student Chloe Aktins enthused about her experiences.

“I’ve learnt that by planting last season’s potatoes you can produce a new crop this year,” she said.

Fellow student Maisie Baker agreed.

“I love that the fruit scraps from lunch time are composted – they have a purpose too,” she said.

The school’s autumnal produce is now ready for harvest, including a giant pumpkin from a seed planted by the year one class last year.

Students were thrilled to see how it flourished over the summer and plan to enter it into the Bream Creek Show this month.

There are benefits at home too, with research linking a child’s knowledge of food produce and production with their willingness to eat them.

Educating children about the food chain and empowering them to grow produce could be a solution to encourage them to eat their greens.

Caption: Fahan School teacher Nic Goodwolf with year five students in the school’s purpose-built fruit and vegetable garden.