Canterbury school students are swapping screens for spades and learning how to grow and care for trees.
Listen to the article on Radio New Zealand from Country Life, 9:45 pm on 7 September 2018 – Let’s get planting: school orchards for Canterbury’s junior gardeners
The CHS recognises its unique position to assist and guide a rapidly emerging trend to home or community grown produce, especially with children and youth. We want to transfer our knowledge and expertise and imbue youngsters with passion for growing their own fruit and vegetables. To this end, we extended our Orchards in Schools programme in 2014 to 5 Christchurch schools – Oaklands, St Martin’s, Gilberthorpe, Northcote and Addington.
The brainchild of long-serving CHS member Carole Anderton, the CHS engaged two mature Canterbury University and Food Resilience Network members to manage the project which involved liaison with schools, identification and purchase of fruit and berry trees followed by the construction of the orchards with the children in each school. As much as possible they selected fruits and berries to ensure a long harvest season to help maintain the children’s interest.
The project is now coordinated by Mary Tingey from A Place of Learning who has made great progress and is rapidly expanding across Christchurch.
It’s very exciting to be part of the Orchards in School project and to see so many children enjoy being in the outdoors growing food.
The number of schools participating in the programme is growing along with the trees.
This year we welcome Breens Intermediate, Bishopdale School, Wigram School, Marshland School, South New Brighton School to the programme. This is the first year in which the prune plums fruited. The taste is divine. Schools which planted in 2016 or earlier are now having crops big enough to share.
Planted 2019 Breens Intermediate, Bishopdale School, Wigram School, Marshland School, South New Brighton School.
Planted 2018: Burnside Primary School, Hornby Primary School, South Hornby School, Russley School and Avonhead School.
Planted 2017 Isleworth School, Haeata Community Campus, Fendalton Open-air School, Elmwood Normal Primary School, Wairakei School, Chisnallwood Intermediate.
Planted 2016 Waitakiri, Rawhiti, Wharenui, Cobham Intermediate, Casebrook Intermediate, Kaiapoi Borough.
Planted 2015 St Martins, Gilberthorpe, Northcote, Addington, Oaklands.