Helpful outside classroom classes for youths who assume greens come from Woolworths

Students grow, harvest and cook their own vegetables in a paddock-to-plate program that is suitable for all learners.

Important points:

  • The school garden offers all students a multidisciplinary, practice-oriented learning environment
  • Children plant, grow, harvest and cook their own food and acquire important life skills in the process
  • Some students have “found their niche” and are now growing their own vegetables at home

The vegetable patch at Risdon Vale Primary, just outside Hobart, would make even a seasoned gardener green with envy.

The garden specialist Peta Burr cares for new generations of plants and children.

She said there are valuable life lessons in putting students’ hands in the ground.

“It really matters because a lot of kids think vegetables only come from Woolworths,” she said.

“When they can actually grow them at home and provide their own families with fruits and vegetables.

“Sometimes kids come out and say, ‘Oh, I’m a little hungry’ and you’ll see them wandering the garden, picking kale and silver beets and just nibbling on them.”

Garden specialist Peta Burr is developing a small orchard at Risdon Vale Primary School as part of its kitchen garden program. (

ABC Rural: David Barnott-Clement


Ms. Burr said the garden taught children not only how to grow and cook food, but also how to moderate technology and show off the time in outdoor activities.

“We’re going to develop part of the garden to study the endemic species and plants that will grow and survive … so [the students] Technology can use for that part, “she said.

“We can tie one to the other. But mostly out here it’s just these good, old-fashioned skills that really get them through life.”

Emma is one of many students who take care of the garden every week.

She said the kitchen garden and outdoor course were among her favorites.

“[I enjoy it] because you can go outside when some people just like to stay inside and keep their technology going, “she said.

“You are outside with the fresh air and nature.”

“A lot of heart in the project”

The kitchen garden program also helps translate the lessons learned in the classroom into a more practical context, says Risdon Vale Primary Director Rachael Wells.

“It’s just a wonderful opportunity for students to apply some of what they have learned in science and math and actually put it into real context,” said Ms. Wells.

“Perhaps you could say the children [who] are not so academically involved in the classroom, this is an opportunity for them to really show their skills and strengths. “

Ms. Wells said the students had important experiences that they would otherwise miss.

A woman with brown hair and glasses smiles at the camera from a greenhouse. Rachael Wells, principal of Risdon Vale Primary School, says the garden is a wonderful opportunity for the students. (

ABC Rural: David Barnott-Clement


With so many hands in the dirt, a number of green thumbs have grown too.

“Some kids have somehow found their niche … and it’s really heartwarming to see these kids thrive and have these opportunities that they normally don’t,” said Ms. Wells.

And when the garden puts together a menu of hand-cut pasta, green pasta sauce, and stuffed focaccia, it’s no wonder the kids and the community are on board.

A young boy carefully chops some garlic on a blue cutting board.  He is surrounded by bowls, spoons and an electric pan The kitchen garden program is based on the “paddock-to-plate” principle and shows the children where their food comes from. (

ABC Rural: David Barnott-Clement


“[Locals] Also, really pay attention to the garden. So we have very little vandalism, ”said Ms. Wells. “It’s really being accepted by the entire community. You can just see the joy on the children’s faces and it’s very difficult not to call it a great success. “

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