School hopes to grow a habit

TOM HUNT
Last updated 07:55 13/06/2014

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A pear tree planted on a bitterly cold morning could sprout a food movement in Wellington.

The Garden to Table programme, already well established elsewhere, reached Porirua's Cannons Creek School on Wednesday, and the occasion was marked with the planting of the pear tree in the school grounds.

Garden to Table founder and trustee Catherine Bell said the programme in primary schools focused on four areas - growing, harvesting, preparing and then sharing food around a table.

The programme was linked to schools' core subjects, she said. For example, measuring how many rows of seeds could be planted helped to teach the children maths skills.

Twenty New Zealand schools were already taking part - 13 of them in Auckland - and it was expected that four Wellington schools would eventually sign up, she said.

The other schools were not yet confirmed, but they would be in low- decile areas.

While Cannons Creek School's garden is so far limited to the solitary pear tree, the plan is for the garden to eventually produce enough to feed all the children taking part once a week.

Schools already taking part in the programme have bees for honey and chickens for eggs.

Cannons Creek principal Ruth O'Neill said growing food at the school had been a long-running ambition. Despite the school having raised garden beds, gardening had never really taken off because teachers did not have the time.

Garden to Table, however, through sponsorship, meant that gardeners and cooks were able to visit to plan and help with lessons.

THE DETAILS

For information about how to become a Garden to Table school, see gardento table.org.nz, or to become a volunteer, email info@garden totable.org.nz.

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