Schools plant gardens and grow nutrition knowledge

At Nganmarriyanga School in remote Northern Territory (NT), teenage boys walk among rows of thriving fruit.

“The middle years’ boys’ class has planted and taken care of the garden,” explains teacher Joe Hewett. “They’ve even been involved in hand pollinating plants.”

The students form part of a large network of people embracing Menzies' School Pilot Garden program. 

Launched in 2012, the program brings young people together to grow and cook a range of fresh produce. Schools are sent kits and resources then supported remotely by Darwin-based horticulturalists and nutritionists.

Photo: Paul Cook samples the fruits of his labour, Nganmarriyanga School, NT.

Program director Dr Andy Hume says the nutritional knowledge gained is designed to set kids on a path of good health, "Good nutrition throughout life is fundamental to the maintenance of wellbeing and the prevention of disease.”

Following the program’s success in 2012, all remote schools in the NT will have access to the same resources from 2013, a move welcomed by teachers like Joe Hewett.

He says: “The program has really helped teach our students about growing plants and cooking healthy food and we are planning on it becoming a regular part of our teaching program.”