Pupils grow garden skills

By Trevor Quinn

Tinui School has been chosen to receive a $2000 gardening grant and students are being encouraged to get their hands dirty.

The money, awarded by Rural Women New Zealand and Farmlands, has been given to Tinui School and five other North Island rural schools so children and teachers can buy equipment, seedlings or plants and improve their gardening skills.

The cheque was formally presented to the school yesterday and teacher Lucy Hutchings said the children enjoyed their experience.

The children have built raised garden beds with teachers and parents and each child has collected sheep manure from their respective farms. Ms Hutchings said there was a great collective spirit and camaraderie, while the children also took some valuable educational lessons from their work.

"They've had to use their maths skills for the measuring, and their environmental knowledge has improved as a result of working in the garden. Every day they had to decide what they were planting and for what season and then organise the rotation of plants," she said.

One student organised a Masterchef class and a cook-off using all ingredients sourced from the garden.

He also put together a menu showcasing the best of the garden.

"He had to decide on soup, desert, a salad and then they all made it together at school and the children judged it," Ms Hutchings said.

Liz Evans, national president of the Rural Women New Zealand and Farmlands organisation said they were delighted to provide the grants.

"The resurgence of interest in eating fresh food and getting back to basics was reflected in the number of applications we received, with 113 rural primary schools applying for grants," she said.


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