Kids reap re­wards from gar­den plot

Central Leader - - NEWS - By DANIELLE STREET

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.’’

Photo: DANIELLE STREET

Muck­ing in: Is­sac Tu­tak­i­toa from Mt Roskill In­ter­me­di­ate says his favourite part of gar­den­ing is the dig­ging.

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