Calling all kids with a green thumb

Upper Hutt Leader - - FRONT PAGE - STAFF REPORTER

Green-fin­gered kids from around Welling­ton re­gion are be­ing called on to get their hands dirty and show off their gar­den­ing skills.

Five bud­ding young gar­den­ers will be named Young Gar­den­ers of the Year for the na­tion­wide Gar­den To Ta­ble com­pe­ti­tion.

Celebrity chef and restau­ra­teur Al Brown is a judge in the com­pe­ti­tion and a firm be­liever that chil­dren can learn vi­tal lessons out­side of a tra­di­tional learn­ing en­vi­ron­ment.

He said set­ting tasks in the gar­den and kitchen helped im­prove so­cial skills such as com­mu­ni­ca­tion, team­work and col­lab­o­ra­tion.

‘‘The pride the kids have in what they’ve ac­com­plished is ex­tra­or­di­nary - from grow­ing the pro­duce, right through to cook­ing and en­joy­ing meals to­gether.’’

Schools around the coun­try, such as Lower Hutt’s Rand­wick School and Up­per Hutt’s Maorib­ank School are part of the Gar­den to Ta­ble pro­gramme and dig their own gardens in school grounds for stu­dents.

Ac­cord­ing to the Min­istry of Health, more than one third of Kiwi kids are over­weight or obese. Com­pe­ti­tion or­gan­is­ers be­lieved gar­den­ing was a good way to get kids think­ing about food and where it comes from.

‘‘At Gar­den to Ta­ble, we strongly be­lieve that chil­dren who un­der­stand where good food comes from - and how to pre­pare it - are likely to make bet­ter food choices,’’ chief ex­ec­u­tive Linda Tay­lor said.

Keen gar­den­ers can ap­ply on­line, send in pho­tos of their gar­den­ing and shar­ing their grow­ing tips.

Ap­ply at young­gar­den­er­awards.co.nz

Chef Al Brown is one of the judges for Young Gar­dener of the Year.

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