The FOGO (food organics and gardening organics) program is not available in Albany so Mount Lockyer Primary School is bringing lessons in food waste and sustainability back to the classroom with their ‘Green Team’, with the help of a Kleenheat Community Grant.
What is the purpose of The Green Team at Mount Lockyer Primary School?
Mount Lockyer Primary School has been incorporating lessons on food waste, gardening, and sustainability since 2015 in order to educate kids from a young age. The program is called Wastewise.
Veronica Stanton-Halligan (Ronnie), is an Education Assistant at Mount Lockyer Primary School and also coordinates the Green Team program as the Wastewise Coordinator.
She says the purpose of the various activities is to teach the students to appreciate the environment, and where possible, eliminate waste, by either reusing or recycling.
“By educating students and their families on recycling, FOGO and managing a small garden It gives every student the opportunity to make a difference for their future.”
Wastewise focuses on the pro’s of being sustainable and con’s of food wastage and environmental hazards. This includes what can be composted, so that it doesn’t end up in landfill, as well as how composting helps their school gardens grow to produce healthy, edible produce fit for school canteens and fundraiser events.
The ‘The Green Team’ is a group of students responsible for managing the food scrap waste in the school. They also collect, clean, and recycle cans and bottles as part of a school-based Wastewise initiative. This raises money for the Year 6 camp and various P&C initiatives.
To encourage engagement with both parents and students, the school runs various activities including;
- ‘Waste Free Wednesday’, which includes a fortnightly prize draw. This focuses on trying to cut down on wasteful packaging in lunch boxes.
- Promoting crunch and sip in classrooms; fresh fruit, veggies, and water for healthy snacks without packaging or processing.
- Growing fresh produce in the school garden, helps students learn about how to grow their own fruit and veggies, while encouraging healthy eating and good compost management.
Who’s involved in the gardens?
All classrooms are involved in the school’s Wastewise program. Classrooms have their own garden plot where they attend a weekly gardening session and learn about composting, worm farming, and the importance of eating healthy homegrown food.
The Green Team collects the food scrap buckets from each classroom every day and moves the scraps to the compost bins in the school garden.
The ‘Gardening Gurus’ are another group of students who attend to the garden beds and maintain the process of rotating the compost bins so the system functions efficiently.
Throughout the year in-season vegetables, fruits and herbs are grown and then supplied to the school canteen, included in ‘Crunch and Sip’ tastings or sold to the school community via their pop-up fresh veggie stall on assembly days.
Any proceeds are then reinvested into the gardens to purchase more seed, soil, and other equipment.
To assist with the program, volunteers with green thumbs and gardening knowledge participate in the program, and the school partners with organisations for additional support including Seeds in Schools, WA Potatoes, Crunch & Sip, and Sustainability in Schools.
“Wastewise is important as it teaches all children that if they change some habits, our future will be more environmentally friendly. It also teaches the students that everything has a use and a purpose in the process of sustainability.”, Ronnie said.
Using their Kleenheat grant to help things grow.
Bianca D’Aprile, is a committee member on the schools P&C and applied for the Kleenheat Community Grant the school received. The aim was to use the grant to assist in the management of the school scraps ‘FOGO’.
While the school encourages students to keep food waste to a minimum, the school canteen also contributes to the Wastewise program, so every day there is more food than the worms can keep up with in the compost bins.
“We have bought two ‘Food Cycler’ machines, which will assist with the food scraps being turned into garden compost more quickly than the composting currently takes.” She said.
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