Green thumbs up for school gardens

LUCY TOWNEND
Last updated 12:00 18/12/2013

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Travelling chef Chris Fortune has heaped praise on two Manawatu primary schools for their green-fingered gardening efforts.

Fortune visited Manawatu schools last month with his Kids Can Cook show, which teaches Kiwi kids how to feed themselves.

Pupils at Roslyn School in Palmerston North and Apiti, Mt Biggs, Lytton St and Feilding Intermediate schools in Manawatu District all got a taste of the programme, which had pupils trying their hands at being sous chefs for the day, and taste-testing their culinary creations.

Fortune's mobile kitchen has visited more than 150 schools and 36,000 children this year.

In its first 12 months it covered more than 10,000 kilometres from Kaitaia to Invercargill.

The chef picked a handful of schools for top awards yesterday, with Roslyn School and Feilding Intermediate among them.

Roslyn shared the honour of the Best School Garden with Mayfield School in Blenheim.

Roslyn principal Joanne How said the garden was a point of pride for the school. "It started off slow, but now has gotten bigger and bigger."

Children added their lunch scraps to a compost heap and were able to take home fresh produce, including lettuce and silverbeet, she said.

Feilding Intermediate was noted for the "most mana" on the programme.

Fortune, who is also the chairman of Farmers' Markets New Zealand, said he was impressed with how Feilding Intermediate had linked up with the town's farmers' market.

"I was so impressed. It's a great school with a fantastic garden proudly supported by the market and [helping] lots of hungry young citizens of Feilding - hungry both for tastings and information about food and healthy options," he said.

Roslyn technology teacher Claire Anderson has said the programme teaches children about healthy lunchbox fare, the importance of eating breakfast, the benefits of fresh fruit and vegetables and clever nutrition options.

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- Manawatu Standard

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