ESTABLISHING an extensive vegetable garden, a tunnel house and orchard are some of Aparima College’s environmental projects which contributed to it winning this year’s Keep New Zealand Beautiful Sustainable School Award.
As well as the ecological projects, pupil Daniel Moore (13) also established a recycling and waste reduction project, and more than 1000 native trees were planted by pupils, which all contributed to the award the college received in October.
Teacher Lynne Grove said as well as benefiting the pupils, the gardens, orchards and tunnel house would also be accessible to the community.
Last year, the college established the tunnel house after it received the Environment Southland Community Award Award, she said.
Seeds were raised in the tunnel house, which were later transplanted.
Some of the vegetables they had grown were used at the college’s soup kitchen, some were given to the koha (donation) stand for the community and some were sold to local cafes and schools, with the aim of making the gardening project self-sustainable.
As well as vegetables, edible flowers and a cut flower section had also been planted.
Before planting, the garden was blessed by Teoti Jardine on behalf of Oraka Aparima Runaka, and was attended by many from the school and community, Mrs Grove said.
“It was traditional to bless the ground before food was planted,” pupil Alexe Buckland-Lonneker (15) said.
The pupils assisted college librarian Hollie Guyton and assistant groundswoman Rebecca Perez who helped prepare the garden beds, planted seedlings and watered the plants during the school holidays.
Pupil Chalize Fisher, whose favourite plants were the lettuces, said she “usually watered the plants” as part of her contribution.
Charlotte Smart’s favourite was also lettuce, while Diaz Fisher said radishes and tomatoes were her favourites.