GROW (Gardens Reduce Our Waste)
Our project GROW (Gardens Reduce our Waste) is based on the principle that the habits children learn when they are young will stay with them their entire lives. Teaching students to reuse and recycle as part of their everyday routines will influence their families and the habits they form as adults.
Heathmont College has started a community garden initiative and will be building an outdoor kitchen so students can prepare and share the produce they grow. We wish to build on this project by including the neighboring primary school (Marlborough Primary) to become involved by collecting compost that can be used to feed the garden. Worm farms and compost bins would be located in the primary and secondary schools in our food technology rooms, canteens and throughout the schools to collect food scraps and green waste. This material would then be used in the edible garden.
Increasing student awareness of the importance of reusing green waste will greatly enhance the opportunity to participate in a program that allows them to see the entire process. Not only will they collect green waste and establish worm farms, but they will also be involved in applying this organic matter to the community garden and harvest and eat the fresh produce. Primary students will come to the secondary school to learn to prepare fresh food from the garden. The Back to Earth concepts will be fully integrated into the curriculum to ensure that students understand the science behind composting and recycling, as well as having first-hand experience in the process. We will also place compost bins near the school boundary so members of the local community who are unable to set up systems at home can add their food scraps and green waste to our project.
Heathmont College has already invested in establishing garden beds and gardening tools and equipment. The school will purchase the soil and plants for the garden. Both schools will contribute ‘student-power’ and ensure staff are properly trained to run an effective program. A working bee is being planned and staff will be putting in many extra hours to ensure the project is a success. We have also built an outside kitchen classroom, and we will provide the equipment needed to make it a usable space. The schools will also provide, posters and signage for drop off locations, of food waste, in both schools.
Schools produce a great deal of waste. Our project will dramatically reduce the amount of food scraps and green waste currently being sent to landfill. It will increase awareness amongst the entire school community and the promotion of our project will make more families aware of ways they too, can deal with some of their household waste. With a combined student population of over 750 students, we have the opportunity to reach many families through our newsletters, websites and Facebook posts. School projects such as these attract the attention of other schools so it is quite possible it could become a model that other schools could adopt.
Category: Secondary school
Council: Maroondah City Council
Organisation: Heathmont College and Marlborough Primary School
Nominated by: Anne-Maree Hatfield