About us

Welcome to School Harvest,  Wodonga Middle Years College  (WMYC) Community Garden blog site set up to share the  story of our innovative and rather  special gardening program.   

It might seem like  a bit of an experiment really  – trying to  bring about a change in school culture through the medium of gardening.

These days most  primary schools  have a veggie patch. This  not only dispels any  misconceptions young  kids might have as to the  origins of their fruit and vegetables,  it also  gives  them, in many cases, their very first exposure to the process of soil maintenance and the cycles of seasonal  planting, nurturing , harvesting  and  then sampling  all kinds of  plant foods.

At WMYC, working with students of   years 7 , 8 and 9 ,  we take school gardening to the  NEXT LEVEL 

Felltimber Campus of WMYC, designed in mid 70’s, was originally surrounded by  vast and  beautiful  native gardens.  Many years of student traffic,  prolonged  drought and the very nature of native vegetation   left the  structure and the plants  in need of  some  pretty serious  upgrading.  Much of the structural work in  more formal  areas, such as the front of the school and central courtyard, has been addressed by professionals, but a large section of ornamental/ recreational  gardens between the  buildings  and the old unused   agriculture plot  have  been allocated  to be re-generated   and maintained with assistance  of  student volunteers.

The Purpose (and a bit of Philosophy with a pinch of Hope) behind…. 

Firstly, on most practical level, it’s about  giving  our students a degree of ownership of the somewhat abuse prone school grounds.  The kids contribute to decision making and invest a lot of hard  labor in re-planting, maintenance, etc. ;  this  tends to make them  protective of the garden environment  and   empowers them  to   influence their peers in the right direction.  Lovely ideal?  To my slightly gob-smacked surprise, less than a year on it’s   already showing dividends…

It’s  also about giving them an experience based  platform from which to make  vocational  choices for themselves  later on. In the 3 years at WMYC our students would have experienced a wide range of activities which these days are not necessarily part of every  household’s  lifestyle.   Looking  after  the ornamental school gardens;  growing  fruit , vegetables and herbs;  harvesting and preparing  produce  for sale to the  community will be  just some of their experience.  By the time they get to Senior College and are faced with vocational  placement options, they will have a pretty good idea if  landscaping , horticulture, or any of the related areas, are in any way appealing as a career choice.

There is much material available online about the short and long term benefits of  involving school children of all age groups  in gardening  activities.  While the focus of  school gardening  programs might range   from  increasing dietary awareness to informing on environmental issues,    they all  appear  to have one outcome  in common: children who learn to  cultivate (edible) gardens  and  harvest  the produce   develop nurturing skills which in turn enable them  to nurture themselves  and hopefully ,  in the future, their families  and the  community they live in.

 

People involved in our project

– our internal school community:  our staff  and students  from both campuses who contribute ideas,  donate labor and  materials, purchase  produce and plants, encourage and hold my energy daily;

-several  members of Wodonga’s Bhutanese community:  traditionally , Bhutanese people grow food communally. Coming from subsistence backgrounds,  they are creative, ingenious, very frugal and in tune with   Earth ‘s natural cycles.  They can teach us a lot about sustainable methods of small scale food production. In return they learn from us about Australian seasonal crops and  get a chance to practice conversations in English  on topics  related to gardening and  food,  which we all greatly  enjoy.

-last, but by no means least, are the  groups listed on our “Supporters ” page: businesses, community organizations and individuals, who offer  freely of their good will, time , energy  and resources to support us in this venture.

 in the words of  Japanese poet  Ryunosuke Satoro:

” Individually, we are one drop,

together, we are an ocean. “

Not an ocean yet, I think our  garden  already is a fine example of  what a community can achieve by joining forces, and we’ve only just started.

more coming  soon

 please visit again!
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2 comments on “About us
  1. Stace says:

    Hi guys,
    We bought a jar of your wonderful chilli jam at the farmers market today. The guys running the stall were very professional and helpful. Well done all round. You should be proud of yourselves!

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