Story & photo Eve Jeffery
Main Arm Upper Public School is one of three local primary schools to receive grants funds for a special garden. Main Arm received money for a food garden, Doroughby Public School for a sensory garden and Dunoon Public School for a butterfly garden.
Environment Minister Robyn Parker has announced the recipients of more than $1.1 million in Environmental Trust Grants that will be awarded to schools and researchers.
Eighty schools will benefit from the grants, with sixty schools sharing in $150,000 under the Eco Schools Program, and twenty grants totalling $70,000 will be awarded for Food Gardens in Schools projects.
Main Arm School principal Virginia Pavlovich says that garden will support an existing program at the school.
‘We are so excited. It’s something we’ve worked hard for’, she says. ‘We currently do have cooking and gardening programs and with this grant we can expand on it.
“What we have planned to do is, whatever we have on our menu for our meals on a Friday, we will be planting those fruits and vegetables.
‘Our garden is run buy a parent, and she initiates the gardening and cooking program. It runs from years K to six.’
Virginia says that the new grant will fit hand in glove with the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation grant the school received at the start of the year.
The aim of the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation is to introduce pleasurable food education into as many Australian primary schools as possible.
The program emphasises the flavours as well as the health benefits of fresh, seasonal food.
Dishes cooked reflect the vegetables, herbs and fruits grown, season-by-season, by the children in their organic garden
The program is designed to be fully integrated into the primary school curriculum as it offers infinite possibilities to reinforce literacy, numeracy, science, cultural studies and all aspects of environmental sustainability.
In addition, the program delivers observable social benefits to all students, including those with special needs.
‘The Stephanie Alexander project embeds what happens in the garden into the classroom’, says Virginia. ‘You look at the science behind the food you are cooking.’
Main Arm students can look forward to more yummy fresh produce being served up from their classroom/kitchen on Fridays.