The Grow to Live – Live to Grow project was split into two stages. Phase one involved worm farming and organic vegetable gardens. Phase two involved education about and construction of vertical garden beds.
In phase one, prep and grade 1 students learned about worm farming, the diet of worms, how they live and breed, and how to care for them. Students and teachers constructed two farms with 1000 worms plus castings, and placed appropriate waste into the farms. Over the school holidays, 240 children at the Outside School Hours Care/Vacation Care looked after the worm farms. The worm urine is continually being collected and used for the organic vegetable garden beds.
Furthermore in phase one, grades prep, 1 and 5 also cultivated, mulched and planted 5 organic vegetable garden beds with produce such as Bok Choy and Watermelon. The students really enjoyed learning how to break up the soil and nourish it with compost and mulch. Additionally, children studied ways in which weeds and other environmental pests can be managed in their organic vegetable garden beds.
In preparation for phase two, grade five students learned how to make a vertical garden bed. Students each made their own cut out recycled milk bottle container ready for hanging on the wall. They planted vegetables in the containers and asked to take them home over the Christmas break and to bring them back next year.
Phase 2 of the project commenced on schools return in 2016, with the construction of a vertical wall placed on to the fence and looked after by the grade five students. The vertical wall garden framework was composed of recycled materials. Students in different year levels learnt about plant anatomy and botanical life science.
The Grow to Live – Live to grow project has certainly had an impact on the students. Many of the children were unsure of handling the soil and the worms at first, but quickly become involved and enjoyed the experience.
During the project students learned about the importance of environmental stewardship, waste management, recycling and organic gardening. There was a notably improved environmental attitude amongst the children with children particularly cultivating a love for learning how the insects and worms in the garden fit in with the ecological environment. There was a lot of teamwork and communication and it was clear the children enjoyed working and learning side by side with each other.
“Ooh, these worms are icky, but I really love them very much”.
– Said by a prep child who would never have touched worms prior to our Project, but who ended up holding and patting the worms.
“We believe that the project is teaching the students teamwork, responsibility for the environment, nutritional education, promotes leadership and will, over time as the project carries forward, improve their food consumption choices. They will be able to sample all the vegetables and fruits that they are growing at school.”
– Frances Fernandez of St Agnes Catholic Primary School