Look­ing for NZ’s young gardeners

Manukau Courier - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - KYMBERLEE FERNANDES

‘‘Re­sults can be achieved by tak­ing chil­dren out of the tra­di­tional learn­ing en­vi­ron­ment.’’

Stu­dents in the coun­try have been learn­ing how to grow their own pro­duce and cook their own meals too.

And now, a few lucky green thumbs stand to win over $300 in prizes.

The in­au­gu­ral T&G Gar­den to Ta­ble awards is en­cour­ag­ing chil­dren and schools to sign up.

The Young Gar­dener of the Year Awards is on the hunt for five young gardeners who are pas­sion­ate about grow­ing fresh pro­duce and cook­ing it up.

Schools can sign up for the School of the Year Award. Only schools that in­cor­po­rate the gardening pro­gramme are el­i­gi­ble to en­ter the com­pe­ti­tion.

Pa­p­a­toe­toe West School has been reap­ing the fruits of the Gar­den to Ta­ble pro­gramme for two years.

Prin­ci­pal Diana Tre­goweth loves the pro­gramme be­cause ‘‘chil­dren learn skills for life’’.

‘‘They take home what they’re learn­ing at school.’’

Look­ing at the school’s healthy gar­den of sil­ver­beet, she says the stu­dents get a va­ri­ety of foods to taste.

‘‘They make kale chips, a lot of broad beans recipes. We’re also grow­ing black­ber­ries and straw­ber­ries,’’ she says.

‘‘I’ve got ex­cited since the pro­gramme and ac­tu­ally like kale chips my­self.’’

Five bud­ding young gardeners will each re­ceive a prize pack­age worth $380. This will in­clude a cer­tifi­cate of achieve­ment, a voucher to buy a glasshouse or gar­den bed, a trowel, a voucher for fer­tiliser, com­post, soil, tools and ac­ces­sories.

The win­ning school will re­ceive a tro­phy, $1000 glasshouse or gardening vouch­ers, a wheel­bar­row loaded full of Lo­ta­toes (low-card pota­toes), a voucher for fer­tiliser, com­post, soil, tools and ac­ces­sories.

Chef and restau­ra­teur Al Brown is one of the judges of the com­pe­ti­tion.

‘‘I wasn’t an aca­demic stu­dent at school and I am a firm be­liever that re­sults can be achieved by tak­ing chil­dren out of the tra­di­tional learn­ing en­vi­ron­ment,’’ he says.

‘‘I’m proud to be help­ing kids de­velop a greater un­der­stand­ing of food, nu­tri­tion and sus­tain­abil­ity and make bet­ter de­ci­sions when it comes to eat­ing a bal­anced diet.’’

‘‘To­gether with T&G, we are on a mis­sion to change the way chil­dren ap­proach and think about food.’’

Ap­pli­ca­tions for the awards close on Septem­ber 29. To en­ter go to www.young­gar­den­er­awards.co.nz.

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