“What’s a Panama Berry?”Where do we plant it?’ ‘How big does it get?’What does it taste like?’ Such were the questions we heard as we visited Gerringong Public School on 24th July, National Tree Day.
The Food Orchard was the brain-child of parent Penny Rushby-Smith and Slow Food Saddleback, with the aim to encourage students to find out where their food comes from, how it grows and to experience growing and nurturing their food, ideals in keeping with Slow Food’s ideals of educating people in using good, clean, sustainably and ethically produced food. The site chosen was on a north facing slope at the back of the school. Penny and a team of enthusiastic parents, had previously held a working bee, following her carefully managed plans, to weed and dig holes and prepare for the planting with manure and mulch as well as constructing a partial fence to protect from wayward playground balls.
Each class is to care for a particular plant so on National Tree Day, throughout the day, classes came to the orchard to plant their tree which was then labelled with tree name and class name. In the afternoon, representatives from each class and members from Slow Food Saddleback, who had purchased the plants, joined the headmistress as she declared the orchard open, followed by afternoon tea.
Slow Food Saddleback members hope that this will be a sustainable project and appreciate the opportunity to work with children in our community.