With $3,500 now in the bank, we’ve launched our Seed to Plate Project, part of Stephanie Alexander’s Kitchen Garden initiative. We talked to Steve to ask about the project and his work at FMS.
I’m Steve, the School’s Gardening Coach/Horticultural Advisor and I work with all of the 3-12 year olds at FMS. The Seed to Plate Project will also be an opportunity to involve the whole school, including teachers and parents.
I am trained in Horticulture, Permaculture and Landscape Design so I act in an advisory role at the working bees as well as having the privilege of working with your children.
Exciting children about biodiversity, helping them learn how to grow food plants naturally, appreciating where their food comes from and some of the challenges our farmers face whilst trying to keep us all fed are what we’re aiming for.
Sessions begin with “tree yoga” to tune everyone in, waken up their brains, bodies and ears.
With the 3-6s I focus on the basic requirements of plants or as I like to say, “Plants need a hand!” There are 5 things (like fingers on a hand) plants depend on us to make available: Sun (heat and light), Air (in the soil and flowing around the plant), Food (fertiliser and nutrients), Soil (or growing media and compost) and of course, Water! We plant a garden and tend it with the kids able to take home some of their crop.
With the 6-9’s I start to expand deeper into some of these basics, like “What is soil?” “What is compost?” “What is photosynthesis?” “What is a weed?” We look at the lifecycle of plants and do some basic propagation and will be planting garden beds as well as raising plants from seed that we will look to sell at upcoming fundraisers.
With the 9-12’s we put everything into practice by planning and planting a vege garden from scratch. We prepare the bed, research what we wish to grow then tend the garden until harvest. The teachers are able to use the crops as they grow for various lessons in biology, botany and of course, cooking!
The Seed to Plate project at FMS has four main components:
It’s a truly unique project for FMS and I’m looking forward to further developing this work with the children.