Kids reap rewards from garden plot
Disabled students are discovering their green thumbs after adopting an unused community garden.
Last August teacher Rebecca Pullin from the Special Education Unit at Mt Roskill Intermediate School read an article in the Central Leader about the largely forgotten community garden in the backyard of the Roskill South Oasis.
The article was calling for people to take part in bringing the garden back to life.
‘‘I just saw it and thought it would be a good opportunity for the kids to do something in the community and to give something back,’’ Ms Pullin says.
Every Tuesday a group of kids from the unit come to the garden and muck in.
‘‘We come in the truck and we get split into four groups, then we go off and do some digging and pulling out weeds. It’s fun,’’ Issac Tutakitoa, 13, says.
Parent Petiareta Ellis says the kids have grown hugely since they began visiting the garden.
‘‘It’s been good to see them come out here and doing things together and learn about where vegetables come from – and it’s not just the supermarket,’’ she says.
Working in the garden has therapeutic benefits for the youngsters and they have been encouraged to try vegetables they haven’t eaten before, Ms Pullin says.
The students have also been sharing the fruits of their labour at home and with the community.
Oasis Hub coordinator Bronwyn Guptill says it often provides food to needy members of the public.
‘‘Because of the garden we can offer fresh organically grown vegetables to the community,’’ she says.
‘‘And we’ve given heaps away over the summer, the tomatoes and beans were cropper.’’
Mucking in: Issac Tutakitoa from Mt Roskill Intermediate says his favourite part of gardening is the digging.