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McDonald Park Primary School shows strength in numbers21-12-2010
McDonald Park Primary School in Mt Gambier, South Australia, is proving to be a mighty force in drawing community support for the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program. Not only have they garnered many thousands of dollars in support from local council and businesses, they have also tackled the challenges of garden-building in an inventive, exciting and immensely successful way.
A series of working bees, held to create their enormous garden, have drawn over 1,000 people over four full day events and two mini events. The keys to this wonderful success are the drive of Deputy Principal Scott Dickson, a hugely supportive governing council, and of course the dedication of parents and community within Mt Gambier.
Mark Kranz, the Governing Council Chairperson, reported that:
‘When it was announced to the school community early in Term 1 of 2010 that it had been successful in securing a "Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Grant", most of us had no idea how immense the project was going to be.
After a lot of planning, gathering community support and donations, the first working bee was held in late March. We knew that everyone involved was in complete support of the project but to have close to 200 staff, students, parents and community members turn up to this first working bee was absolutely amazing.
The donations that we have received from community businesses has amounted to tens of thousands of dollars which has included bricks, pavers, mulch, rocks, plants, garden tools and much more.
Project Coordinator, Scott Dickson created a competition for each classroom called the "Golden Shovel". Each working bee had different classrooms allocated and the classroom with the most amount of attendance won the "Golden Shovel". This was a fantastic way of the students getting their parents/caregivers/grandparents etc. to come along and be involved.
After a few working bees, the garden has taken an amazing transformation from an empty paddock to a near full functioning garden in such a short space of time. The level of support shown by the community confirms that the aim of the Program of pleasurable food education for children is enormously supported.'
Most of McDonald Park's garden has been laid out, garden beds constructed, paved areas and paths completed, a fire pit built, and planting has well and truly begun. Huge ongoing plans include an orchard, irrigation, a covered seating area, wheat and corn fields and a pizza oven, so we are looking forward to the end result!
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