It’s always a pleasure to share our story. This week we had a chat with Humans Who Grow Food – a social media page dedicated to inspiring people to grow real food. Be inspired! Read stories about amazing people across the world who connect over the importance of growing food. Here is a little form our interview we did and then pop over to their page for more images of our growing adventures.
“We are 2 passionate women dedicated to educating children about the origins of food, the relationship we can form with nature and the joys of giving back to the earth by living sustainably. We have both grown food since we were little with our families and now at home with our own families – Amy learning from her grandfather who was a market farmer and Jade from her mother, who grew food at home.
We began growing food on a small scale at our children’s primary school, growing peas, carrots, lettuce and herbs to liven up a small un-used patch of the garden. The first harvest of peas was handed to the children in the playground, who thought ‘peas come from freezer’. This was the defining moment we knew kids needed to be educated about where food comes from and how it is grown. Since then, we have written a curriculum based learning program that we teach to all students of the school about growing organic food and best sustainable practices.
The garden we grow and teach from is located at Bonbeach Primary School in Melbourne, Australia. It is made up of twelve 8×4 foot raised vegetable beds and a couple of garden beds converted into food growing space also. In between these areas, we have nature play based activities, a chicken coop fill, mud kitchens and native plants. The total area is a little over ¼ acre.
We grow seasonally as it the easiest way to teach kids about their environment and the relevant growing factors. Growing all food types is interesting for kids and helps them to build a knowledge of how to grow edible foods. Amongst the vegetable beds is a dedicated green manure crop area to feed the chickens and also self-seeding edible herbs and flowers.
The chickens help create fantastic organic matter for our soil. It is first fed to the giant worm farm to break down and then collected along with the worm wee fertilizer. Organic pest management gets the kids excited as we ask for their orange peels to place in the vegetable beds to help deter slaters and earwigs who prefer the sweet juice over newly planted seedlings. Kids make the best caterpillar catchers! Compost is made from a collection of school waste kitchen scraps and lawn clippings contributed by families. Everything in the garden is recycled to maintain a balanced system, our motto; if it comes from the earth it can go back to earth. We do not use any synthetic fertilizers or products, everything is made or found on site to create pest sprays and controllers to soil additives.
The kids play a large role in our garden but sometimes they are also our biggest hurdle! Pretty flowers were once picked for mud pie decorations or made into fairy house decorations leaving us without produce to form. Lessons in pollination, bees and food growing cycles have since helped with curious fingers.
The biggest rewards for growing food are definitely the experiences that are being passed onto the kids and their families. To see them eat a carrot straight from the ground or try something they have never eaten before is a real thrill. Seeing a school bag full of lettuce or pockets filled with potatoes to take home and share makes it very rewarding as it’s not only the kids but the families who get to experience real food as well.
We run a farmers market that is held monthly within the school grounds providing the local community with access to farm produce from all over Victoria. They can see how food is grown in our garden on a small scale and then enjoy it from the farmers who attend.
The garden, now in its fifth year of growing provides us with a bounty of organic seeds that we share with community via seed savers. We often hold workshops about worm farming and nature play events that connect young children and their families to the earth. Our sustainability incursions in kindergartens are a rewarding experience for us, as we reach children as young as 3 years old about how to care for the earth and the joys of growing food.
People need to get out of their comfort zone! Try new things, grow what you can at home, and teach your children while they are young the importance of where food comes from.”
Humans Who Grow Food features stories of home gardeners, farmers and community gardens across borders and cultures.