My kids go to an awesome primary school. It is a small country school and is surrounded by loads of green space. Some parents were passionate about creating a school kitchen garden. At the end of May, there was a working bee to get the kitchen garden established in its new space. The space was close to the undercover area where the kids eat their lunches and meant that they would be able to utilise the kitchen garden space more often.
Everyone was excited when it was announced that Costa from Gardening Australia would officially open the school’s kitchen garden!
Costa’s enthusiasm about caring for community and environment was quickly apparent. The kids (and parents!) sat fascinated as he gave his interactive talk. And when I say interactive, he got in amongst the kids giving an impression of a rambling zucchini vine. We all loved it!
Firstly, he spoke about how T-shirts can be a great way to spread a message. Costa brought three t-shirts that he likes to wear with him. It was a interesting approach to spark discussion.
The first one’s message was about ‘Grow your own food’. Costa explained the importance of growing your own food.
Some benefits of growing your own food
- Reduces food miles
- You get to eat yummy super fresh produce
- You learn about how plants grow through the process of observation
The second t-shirt had the word ‘Permaculture’ on it. Underneath this was – ‘Earth Care, People Care, Share Care’.
This is where Costa’s gift for teaching shined. We sat and listened as he explained the beauty of these concepts and how they are all connected. By having a kitchen garden and growing organically you are helping the earth, by creating community through that kitchen garden you are connecting people and by sharing produce and also sharing recipes related to that produce, you are engaging in share and people care!
In this day and age, where there can be disconnection due to the continual rush of life, how wonderful it would be if we all applied ‘Earth Care, People Care and Share Care’ to our lives.
The third t-shirt had the slogan ‘Farming is the New Rock and Roll’
Costa asked the kids what they thought this meant. There were some cool answers but the one that made us all go ‘aha’ was this ‘Farming is cool. If farming was trendy then more people would appreciate their farmers, like they do rock and roll stars. And maybe more of us would become ‘farmers’ ourselves and grow our own food.’
PS I wished I had taken photos of the t-shirts, but seriously, I was so into what was being said that I just forgot!
At the end of Costa’s talk, there was an opportunity to ask questions. Here are some that the kids asked.
Did you garden when you were young? (This one was asked by my girl who loves gardening!)
Costa’s grandfather and godfather was his gardening inspiration when he was younger. His grandfather had an awesome productive backyard and taught Costa plant names not only in English but in Greek.
On the other hand, his godfather had a 3,000 acre farm. It’s where Costa learnt about the land here by being on the farm and observing.
So yes, Costa did garden when he was younger.
What is your favourite veggie?
Roast pumpkin…to which he added “roasted until it gets those yummy caramelised bits.”
What is your favourite fruit?
Mango. Costa used this answer as an opportunity to further promote the ‘People Care’ concept. When mangoes are abundant and cheap, get a group together and have a mango slicing and dehydrating day. Then you can enjoy dried mango on a cold winter’s day, close your eyes and have a tropical moment!
How many fruits have you grown?
Costa has grown loads of fruit in his life time. He has seven different types of fruit growing in his garden at the moment.
How do you keep chickens away from your veggie patch?
Chicken naturally scratch. They will love scratching up a veggie patch and eating all your veggies! So it is best to protect the veggie patch from them if you were to let them roam in your garden.
If you did want to let them have a roam in your garden, Costa suggested letting them out about 30 mins before dark so they could scratch around. Once it starts getting dark chickens will return to their coop as their instincts will kick in and they will return to a place that is safe from predators.
Interesting Costa Fact
He likes to observe chickens and from these observations he has learnt and perfected an awesome chicken dance. I think Costa’s demonstration will inspire some kids to observe their chickens and try the chicken dance at the next school disco!
Not only did our school get to hear from an inspirational speaker but Costa bought with him some gifts to plant in the school garden. They were a Feijoa and Gympie Lime trees and Pepper and Blueberry bushes. Thanks Costa!