Growing Green Thumbs

Amy & Jade are passionate about connecting children to nature. Inspiring them and guiding them how to grow real food in a sustainable environment. Spending their days in an organic garden at Bonbeach Primary School, the pair run regular gardening sessions with students of the school and wider community.

The pair created an outdoor kitchen garden at Bonbeach Primary School Melbourne, Australia in 2013. They gained much appreciation from the local community and business’ and volunteered many hours to create a space where food education and environamntal sustainability could take place. The garden and surrounding areas slowly transformed from a dusty, concrete area into a functioning kitchen garden that now plays host to many classes, workshops, events and markets. And of course a few awards.

The garden is open to the community at Bonbeach Farmers Market – which was established as an extension of the garden. The pair believe that everyone should have access to great food and it’s origins.

 

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Food Allergies play a large role in their cooking, with all recipes customized so that every child is included. Amy’s knowledge of modern day food allergies in children inspired her to study nutrition which she brings to the table when cooking with the kids. Growing food is in her genes, as the grand-daughter of a market farmer she was taught much about the process, now sharing her  knowledge with others.

The therapeutic qualities of nature bring the space alive for Jade. Always with a creative process behind all that is built and grown, she finds the garden an endless source to work in. A childhood spent amongst artists, nature and food growers she has grown to embrace her childhood and now shares knowledge with her own family and others. Studies in Sustainability in Early Childhood inspired Jade to bring a sense calmness to the garden by not using synthetic materials and colors, allowing kids to find their own way without over stimulation.

Introducing horticultural therapy to the garden, the pair often re-create food growing beds to stimulate the senses and offer new experiences for all who visit. Sustainability plays a large role in both their lives and this is extended into the garden with the practice of permaculture principles where possible. Observing what it is that attracts people to nature play and growing food, Amy and Jade create spaces to help enhance the areas. Always seeking new knowledge of what can be done to create a better environment for all involved they regularly attend courses, workshops and network widely with like minded people.

They share their food growing ways with parents, students and wider community,   growing organic fruit, vegetables and flowers whilst making it fun to play outdoors in a sustainable environment. Tee-pee’s come and go, sensory gardens are forever changing, nature play structures are always being built, worm farms & compost heaps brew, organic veggie patches grow, fruit orchards bloom, community plots are nurtured, frog bogs are busy and mud kitchens are a messy place for little hands full of fun. There is something for everyone to interact with in the garden.

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Amy and Jade spend a lot of time together in the garden and are often asked ‘how do you do it?’ – with a shared desire that food education and interacting with nature should be experienced and enjoyed by all. They grow, play, eat and share with as many people as possible and  can happily agree to dis-agree when needed.

Workshops and events happen often so that everyone can have access real food and natural play spaces. Sharing what they learn along the way, the walls they hit, they encourage others to get involved and have fun, keeping everyone connected via social media and blog posts.

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Visit Bonbeach P.S SCHOOL DIARY for lots of great inspiring stories that can be adapted to homes, kindergarten and schools.

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