A school garden created to teach school kids about food produce “offers the chance to be up close with nature every day if they don’t have that chance at home.”
Kicked off with a 2015 Junior Landcare grant at St Raphael’s Catholic School in Cowra, local farmer and parent Alison Rutledge wanted kids to discover where their food came from while interacting with the school’s food garden.
Representing the incredible desire to instill the Landcare ethos in the next generation after 30 years of the national movement, Alison never imagined the garden would be so successful.
‘I always thought it was about connecting kids to their food so that the children knew where it came from,’ Alison said, ‘but it’s so much more than food.
‘Children come to the garden for lots of reasons, they love to get dirty and like to look at worms and all that. But it also allows them the chance to be up close with nature every day if they don’t have that chance at home.’
Supported by local parents, the project has expanded to 10 garden beds and a native habitat corridor to encourage local wildlife.
‘We’re farmers and the fact that our children can climb on rocks, see lizards in the bush every day, and we couldn’t believe that lots of children don’t get those opportunities,’ Alison, a wool farmer and Mid Lachlan Landcare member.
‘So we wanted to create around the fringes of that playground, the opportunity for a lizard to set up home. It’s a micro-habitat and the opportunity for students to come out of recess and see that lizard on the rock and be in a beautiful natural habitat amongst native vegetation and bees.’
St Raphael’s Productive Food Garden is part of Landcare’s 30 Year anniversary celebrations, indicating how diverse and wide-ranging Landcare has come since the late Bob Hawke launched the national formation in 1989. A unique union of farmers and conservationists coming together to protect and restore the Australian environment, this ever-growing sweeping movement now boasts over 6000 groups across the country and hundreds of thousands of volunteers.
Landcare Week September 2 – 8: In the first week of September every year, thousands of Australians from all walks of life get together to recognise and celebrate the tireless efforts and commitment of volunteers who help protect and rehabilitate the natural environments of this great land we call home