VSGA Award Winner 2018
Camberwell South Primary School was selected as a finalist at the Victorian School’s Garden Awards (VSGA) in November 2018. We were fortunate enough to receive an award for the ‘Best Edible Garden’ and a $1000 voucher to the ongoing development of the garden.
History of the CSPS Garden
The Kitchen Garden and Chickens Project was initiated by a small group of passionate and dedicated parents at the school in 2015 who had a vision to create a magical and productive place where students, teachers and the CSPS community can come together to explore, learn and have fun.
From humble beginnings, CSPS’s garden has gone from a couple of garden beds used by the EEP Grade 3 & 4 classes to learn about gardening and sustainability to a thriving Kitchen Garden with an abundance of vegetables, fruit and citrus trees and a herb garden, not to mention a large Chicken Coop housing the school’s much loved hens.
The large Chicken Coop was generously donated by the Bowley family who are passionate about the benefits of having chickens at the school to engage the children and allow them to learn about caring for and nurturing other living things, including learning about animal life cycles and the connections between animals, people and plants.
In late 2017, again through generous donations by the Bowley and Loughnan families, CSPS became a member of the Kitchen Garden Classroom as part of the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation. This membership enables Victorian Primary Schools to get all the online tools to successfully run a kitchen garden program including growing, harvesting , preparing and sharing fresh, seasonal and delicious food.
Why have Kitchen Garden and Chickens at School?
Having a Kitchen Garden and Chickens at the School creates a fabulous authentic learning environment enabling CSPS to:
Engage children outside of the traditional classroom and allow them to learn about how fresh, seasonal and delicious food is grown in order to form positive food habits for life;
fully integrate the school curriculum or learning framework as it offers infinite possibilities to reinforce literacy, numeracy, science, cultural studies and all aspects of environmental sustainability;
deliver observable social benefits to all children, including those with special needs; and
encourage critical thinking, teamwork, an understanding of cause and effect, and increased levels of observation.
Over the past two years Scicluna’s Real Food Merchants located at Tooronga Village has been generously donating fruit and vegetables that would otherwise go to landfill to feed CSPS’s chickens. This supplements the grain CSPS feeds its chickens and ensures our chickens are healthy and produce great eggs. We thank Scicluna’s for their continued support of our garden.
A mention should also be made of Linger Patisserie Cafe who have donated coffee grounds and egg shells which CSPS has used to improve the soil in our garden.
More recently, CSPS initiated discussions with Boroondara Council about sustainability and this has led to CSPS hosting a “Winter Garden Workshop” in early May 2018. This Boroondara led workshop will enable members of the community to come to our school garden and see first hand how to prepare garden beds for a productive winter crop.
How can you get Involved?
There are a number of ways to get involved in the CSPS Garden.
Put your name down on the Garden Roster (see top right hand side of this page). This will allow you and your children to get hands on in the garden by watering and maintaining the garden on weekends and school holidays and enjoy feeding the chickens and collecting the freshly laid eggs.
Join the Chicken and Garden Shareholders. With a $5 donation at the office, you buy a raffle ticket to be in the running for a dozen freshly laid eggs. This raffle is drawn every Monday at the office and all money donated to the raffle goes towards feed and straw for the chickens.
Come along on a Friday morning to a parent led Garden Club straight after assembly and meet like minded parents who are interested in learning about the garden, have green thumbs or just want to do some physical work in the garden to keep it looking lush and healthy. No gardening experience is required. Just come along and have fun.
Volunteer as a Parent Helper in the classroom to help teachers when they are working with children in the school garden or kitchen.
Get involved in periodic Garden and Chicken Projects by volunteering your time or skills. The parent led garden committee is looking to continuously improve this area for the children and we have a number of ideas and projects in mind over the coming year. Eg irrigation for the Kitchen Garden, Paving around the Chicken Coop, Worm Farms and Composting, etc . The more volunteers the merrier and enables things to get done.
For those families that are time poor but would still like to contribute in other ways, we welcome donations of garden supplies such as Seasol, Watering Cans, Garden Tools, Bamboo sticks, seeds, etc etc. All donations can be made to the office.
Get involved in the BAAGs led School Working Bees which are held periodically during the year to help maintain the school buildings and grounds.
Please register your interest by emailing the school and in which capacity you would like to assist. This way the Garden Committee run by a small group of parents and appointed teachers can let you know of any opportunities as they arise.