The joy of growing food is contagious. For most children (and adults) the journey from seed to edible plant is truly magical. We have been lucky enough to partner with Mission Australia and FiMBY to work with students and community members in Clarendon Vale and Rokeby to grow, cook and eat healthy food over the past couple of years.
Lissa and Christina have been running gardening and cooking workshops regularly with students from Rokeby and Clarendon Vale Primary Schools as well as Bayview Secondary College (previously Rokeby High School). In 2015 & 2016 there was limited garden space available at the schools, so we decided to upcycle disused milk crates from Pura Milk, line them with old coffee sacks and fill them with potting mix and seeds. The students have diligently watered their crates and watched the seedlings emerge. We then worked with the students to design a display using the crates for a stall at the Clarence Plains Festival in May. Students wrote up instructions for how to make a crate garden and had kits available for purchase on the day. The crate gardens proved popular with all of our kits selling out! In 2017, Mission Australia worked with the community to establish an amazing community garden in Clarendon Vale, which we helped to plant, harvest and cook from as well as engaging with the community to actually us it. A highlight was working with the students to cater for the official opening of the Clarence Plains Community Garden, serving garden made vegetable pizzas, dips, fruit syrup mocktails and dessert pizzas to a crowd of nearly 200 VIPs and community members.
Our seasonal cooking sessions have been particularly popular with the students. We always try to start with picking some produce fresh from the school garden & crates, the add lots of fresh Tassie produce and healthy wholefoods to make interesting and tasty foods. Tassievore Pizza made with our own roasted tomato sauce, Cheesy Bean and Veggie Nachos; and a power-packed salad of microgreens have been some of the favourites so far. The high school students also loved creating afternoon tea for the teachers. It is really lovely to see students taking pride in the effort that they have put in, being adventurous in trying new foods and learning confidence in the kitchen and garden!
We have also been working with adults in the community to improve skills and knowledge around healthy low-cost food. One of the highlights was a foraging walk on which we found quinces, pears, mulberries, watercress and lots of other edible plants. Flow on effects from our work in the community include a new gardening options program being run by 2 of our community facilitators at Clarendon Vale Primary School as well as the weekly, Soul Food Soup Kitchen, run by another of our community facilitators. It has been wonderful to see these passionate locals become even stronger leaders in their community, engaging people through growing and cooking healthy food.