Anyone interested in supporting the efforts of a Northland decile one school to teach their pupils how to grow their own fruit and vegetables, and to supplement the children's diets with fresh food, can do so by donating new or used gardening books.
Whangaruru School in Northland is setting up a raised bed garden and orchard at the school and is aiming to build a collection of gardening reference books for both children and teachers through donated books.
Noeline Cole of the Whangaruru School PTA said it had been very encouraging to find support out in the wider community.
"It seems to me having got involved in this project that the gardening fraternity are very generous with their skills, expertise and resources. Even in these early stages it has been a joy to be involved in!"
"Any contribution to the garden would be fantastic. We have had some seeds from seed companies but increasing the variety is always welcome. The tool situation is fairly sparse at the moment, we hope to build it up as we are able."
"The online booksellers, Fishpond have agreed to send us a book. When our first book and seeds arrived it was like Xmas in the classroom, the children are really enthusiastic about the garden. They have decided to call it Nga Kai o Papatuanuku."
Growing their own food
The school is setting up the garden and orchard to provide the children with the experience of gardening, and also to supplement their diets with fresh fruit and vegetables.
The school has 54 students and is decile one which means it is a very poor area, financially,
although it has a lot of support that is non financial, said Noeline.
"A huge number of our children have not eaten anything other than the most common of
vegetables, and sadly a few really have little other than processed food."
A taste for fresh food, gardening, cooking
The school hopes by integrating gardening with the rest of the school curriculum it can broaden the children's experience of fresh food but also give them a love of gardening and cooking that will last them a life time.
"I have loaned the children some of my books for the classes to look at the wide variety of fruit trees, vegetables and herbs that are available, and they are doing a project on evaluating possible plants for their garden based on what will grow best here in Northland and what they would like to eat. They are also studying worm farming, compost making and general garden development."
Noeline said some local volunteers were helping the children make three raised garden beds.
"We are really excited about making our gardens and we hope that this will mean our school will be self-sustaining in the future. The school will be helping teach a new generation the joy of gardening and producing our own food."
Any donations can be sent to:
Whangaruru School PTA
Old Russell Road