A Kleenheat Community Grant has helped Mount Lockyer Primary School bring lessons in food waste and sustainability to the classroom.
What does the school’s Wastewise program involve?
Mount Lockyer Primary School has been incorporating lessons on food waste, gardening, and sustainability into its curriculum since 2015. The program is called Wastewise and is designed to educate children on sustainable food practices from a young age.
Veronica Stanton-Halligan (Ronnie), is an Education Assistant at Mount Lockyer Primary School and coordinates the Wastewise program.
She says the activities in the program teach students to appreciate the environment, and to eliminate waste by reusing or recycling, where possible.
“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 pros of being sustainable and the cons of food wastage and environmental hazards. Students are taught about what can be composted and kept out of landfill, and how composting can help the school gardens produce healthy, edible produce fit for use in the school canteen and at fundraiser events.
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. This raises money for the Year 6 camp and various P&C initiatives.
The school also runs various activities to engage with parents and students 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 are encouraged as healthy snacks that are not packaged or processed.
- growing fresh produce in the school garden. This helps students learn how to grow their own fruit and veggies, and encourages healthy eating and good compost management.
Who’s involved in the gardens?
The whole school is involved in the Wastewise program. Each class has its own garden plot where it attends a weekly gardening session and learns 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 look after the garden beds and rotate the compost bins so the system functions efficiently.
Throughout the year in-season vegetables, fruits and herbs are grown. They are 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 seeds, soil, and equipment.
“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 school’s 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’s FOGO (food organics, garden organics) waste.
While the school encourages students to keep food waste to a minimum, the school canteen also contributes to the Wastewise program, and the school’s compost bins have more food scraps than the worms can keep up with.
“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,” Bianca says.