Canterbury is on its way to being more food resilient, as more than 50 schools embrace creating awesome community gardens and food forests.
The gardens at St Bernadette's in Hei Hei are among them, with its gardens set to flourish as it gets ready to plant 30 heritage apple saplings, which include a mixture of cooking and eating apples.
Janne Pasco, Canterbury DHB Community Nutrition Advisor and member of the Food Resilience Network, says network members, lead by Krystina Hill, have grafted 100 different heritage apple varieties with 500 saplings in total over the past year, which will be planted at St Bernadette's and a number of other schools over the coming month.
"The community support has been fantastic. We've had trees donated from the Horticultural Society, from Waimea Nurseries and of course the heritage fruit tree archive here in Canterbury.
"Pears, peaches and plum trees will be next to be planted as the gardens start to thrive."
Janne says the project is also part of Health Promoting Schools programme.
"A lot of children think all of their food just comes from the supermarket and they don't connect the fact that vegetables grow from seeds planted in the ground and that they can do this," Janne says.
"Creating edible community gardens helps food security and also teaches children where their fruit and vegetables come from."
Shirley Primary School pupils certainly know about planting pumpkin seeds and harvesting their prize pumpkins after six months of nurturing.
"Creating community gardens, especially at local schools, brings enormous benefit for everyone involved."
It also helps to meet the five ways to wellbeing, Janne says.
"You're connecting, giving, taking notice, learning and being active – it's one way to do it all."
St Bernadette's principal Graeme Norman is a keen gardener and says we need to get people back to the cheaper and healthier option of growing their own food.
"Teaching children where their food comes from and to grow their own vegies and fruit is the start," Principal Norman says.
"We are hoping that not only will our garden and orchard provide food for our community but also provide a place where the community can gather and get to know one another."
The apple tree planting will be held at 1pm, Monday August 22, 2016, at St Bernadette's Primary School, 74 Hei Hei Road, Hei Hei.
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