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Feeding minds and pupils at $2

Last updated 05:00 14/03/2014
Epuni Primary School's garden
CAMERON BURNELL/Fairfax NZ
PLANTING SUCCESS: Epuni Primary School in Lower Hutt has a vegetable garden and orchard that feeds the entire school community. From left, Leone Vaatuitui, 8, project co-ordinator Julia Milne, and Purita Kong, 10.

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A Lower Hutt primary school with a garden regularly feeding its 100 pupils is hoping donations to build a kitchen will teach parents how to support their own families.

The Common Unity Project is a self-funded organisation based at Epuni Primary School. It has built a one-acre garden that pupils help maintain and harvest.

Project co-ordinator Julia Milne said the garden and school hall facilities where workshops were held for parents were no longer big enough for the number of people involved.

"We are feeding 100 children every Wednesday for less than $10, using fruit and vegetables from the garden and other foods donated by local businesses, and much of the wider community is here daily learning," she said.

"This is all being done on the back of what the community wants."

The proposed Koha Kitchen would be made from recycled shipping containers and would offer more space for cooking and preserving, as well as for holding larger workshops and storage.

She said garden vegetables and donated lentils and sauces easily made 20 litres of soup for a school lunch that cost about $2.

"It's about starting in the kitchen, cooking with the parents, and working backwards to the garden to show them how easy it is."

Project volunteers had helped build gardens at the parents' homes, and the workshops taught the whole family when and what to plant and how to keep it sustainable.

Milne said the decile 2 school's garden had a huge positive impact on the community and the aim was to roll the project out to other nearby schools.

"People come here to learn. Money is not something that makes the community rich, but learning how to feed the family is."

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- The Dominion Post

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