By DAVID HILL
A passion for gardening has seen two young North Loburn School gardeners win national awards.
John Lundy (8) and Emma Walsh (7) were among five young gardeners to win individual awards in the first T&G Global “Garden to Table” Young Gardener of the Year Awards.
The pair were chosen from nearly 70 applications received from children aged between 7 and 11 years old.
North Loburn School teacher Anna Webb says the school is “very proud” of the pair’s success as the “Garden to Table” programme is important to the school.
“All the kids are involved in the ‘Garden to Table’ programme and grow their own produce in the school gardens from seed.
“The children are involved in all aspects of the garden, watering and tending the garden and we compost as well. Each class is rostered on.”
John says when the produce is big enough the students harvest it and over the next couple of days cook the food and share it as a school lunch.
He says the applicants were asked a series of questions about gardening experiences and to give some gardening tips.
One of John’s tips was “to have plenty of water or rain, but not too much as the seeds drown”.
“I really like getting my hands dirty, it’s a good way to have fun and I love the yummy vegies,” John says.
Anna says “the peer pressure” means the children are willing “to have a go at eating everything”.
“They don’t say no to a teacher in the same way they say no to a parent.”
Anna says gardening is a great way for Emma, who has 4p syndrome (a rare genetic disorder) and limited speech, “to succeed and for other children who find the academic side of school difficult”.
Emma says she loves growing strawberries and raspberries and eating any food out of the garden.
In her application, Emma’s mum wrote: “Gardening for Emma, is a source of wonder, connection with others, peace, calm and pride.
It allows her to find success without the challenges of speech, written language and mathematics found in the classroom.
“Emma takes pleasure and pride in all aspects – from the yucky, mucky and gunky experiences to the miraculous, colourful and tasty delights of gardening. Her love for planting and harvesting doesn’t outweigh her love to nurture and care for the garden.
She delights in seeing plants grow, it amazes her how they have a life that evolves and can reproduce itself.”
The children received a gardening prize pack worth $500 including garden trowels, seeds and vouchers.