At Te Kura o te Mātāpuna, Isleworth School we put our students at the heart of all decisions that we make. When we received our Earthwise Action Fund there was great excitement amongst students and staff alike. Our vision was to have a rainwater tank near our orchard and vegetable gardens. It did take a bit but eventually we got our tank ordered and our seeds bought.
Tank delivery day arrived and thanks to our awesome caretaker, Mr Percy, put into position. Unfortunately, we discovered that the tank we had bought was too tall for the site. After a bit of back and forth with the wonderful people at Mitre 10 we were able to swap our 1000l tall tank for a 900l short tank. Mr Percy put this in place, and we are now able to harvest rainwater to water our vegetable gardens and orchard.
The Caspa students, along with their leader, have been working hard with establishing our vegetable gardens. Taking advantage of the New World little gardens plants, we have harvested a good crop of silverbeet, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage, feeding many students and their families. It has been a chance for some of the students to enjoy vegetables that they have grown through hard work and that they had not have previously tried.
Working with Orchard in Schools we have been maintaining our orchards. One of the key recommendations was that we plant beneath the fruit trees with nitrogen-giving plants to help with the health of the plants and to attract bees, other insects and birds to ensure the pollination of our trees.
The grant allowed us to purchase some bags of appropriate seed to plant this understory and support the health and maintenance of the orchard. A healthy orchard will feed more students and give them more opportunities to taste fruit directly from the tree and try fruits they otherwise wouldn’t have.
Our healthy school orchard and gardens have since been recognised by Keep Christchurch Beautiful – another proud moment for our tamariki.