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Kitchen Garden Schools: Adelaide Tour

Posted in Events, Movements by Kate Archdeacon on September 26th, 2011

Adelaide Kitchen Garden Schools Tour with Maggie Beer

Hosted by our wonderful South Australian Ambassador Maggie Beer, our first-ever South Australian schools tour visits established Kitchen Garden Schools throughout Adelaide that have been running the Kitchen Garden Program for several years and are now reaping the benefits.  Join Maggie to view kitchen and garden classes in action, speak to Foundation staff and school staff, and enjoy a delicious gourmet lunch. This is an inspirational day that showcases the beautiful and productive school gardens as well as the home-style kitchens, and gives participants a chance to get closer to the Program in action. The tours are suitable for staff from interested schools and new Kitchen Garden Schools, as well as our Subscribers and interested members of the public.

8:45AM – 4:45pm, 10 Nov, 2011

Public: $77.00
Subscribers: $55.00
Program Schools: $44.00

Kilkenny Primary School, Jane Street
West Croydon SA 5008

Click through to register for the tour.

Connecting Urban Agriculture with Schoolyards and Backyards

Posted in Models, Movements by Kate Archdeacon on June 17th, 2011

Source: Springwise

From Urban farming expands onto school grounds:

Community-supported agriculture is not an unfamiliar concept for regular Springwise readers, nor are the often-associated add-ons of bicycle-based produce delivery and compost services. Canadian Fresh Roots Urban Farm offers all of these; what sets it apart, however, is a series of partnerships it’s formed with local schools in the Vancouver area to create urban farms on school land.

Fresh Roots produces and distributes organically grown food through a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program as well as pocket markets and restaurant sales in the Vancouver area. Much of the produce for that program is grown by local urban farmers and in participating neighborhood gardens, but of particular interest are the organization’s new partnerships with local schools to use school land. At Queen Alexandra Elementary, for example, the relationship began last year when the Vancouver School Board bought a share from Fresh Roots’ CSA for its cafeteria salad bar program. Since then, however, the partnership has expanded to include a model urban farm on school land, thereby adding to Fresh Roots’ production capabilities while creating an outdoor, hands-on, experiential classroom for the school community. Similar partnerships have since been forged with two other local schools, and Fresh Roots invites the participation of others as well.

Read the full article on Springwise for related projects.

Sharing Schoolyards With The Neighbours: Some Examples

Posted in Models, Movements by Kate Archdeacon on May 27th, 2011

Via Sustainable Cities Collective

Photo: South Ozone Park community enjoys the new playground at P.S. 108Q, which opened Spring 2010.

Sharing school grounds and facilities with the surrounding community makes sense as we look at the future of sustainable cities.  It can strengthen networks (increasing resilience through getting to know your neighbours) and improve urban health (access to green parks for recreation and improved air quality)  – but how might it work?  Peter Harnik for City Parks Blog has drawn together a range of schoolyard sharing initiatives from the USA.  The article is great for getting an idea of what’s already happening, as well as pointers for starting up sharing in your neighbourhood.  Below are some extracts:


Schoolyards are large, flat, centrally located open spaces with a mandate to serve the recreational needs of schoolchildren. Great schoolyards–the rare ones that have healthy grass, big trees, a playground, and sports equipment–seem a lot like parks. But they aren’t. For one thing, most have fences and locks. For another, they are closed to the general public. Schoolyards are parks for only a limited constituency. But they have terrific potential to be more than that. Even less-than-great schoolyards (those that are merely expanses of asphalt with few amenities) represent sizable opportunities in key locations. To many observers, schoolyards seem the best, most obvious source of park-like land to supplement the park systems of overcrowded cities. And they are–even if upgrading them into schoolyard parks is more difficult than it might seem.

“Schoolyard park” in this context means a space reserved for schoolchildren during school hours and used by the whole community at other times. In a few cities–New York, Chicago, and Phoenix–schoolyard parks are run cooperatively by the board of education and the parks department. In others, the parks department has no formal role at all.

Most schoolyards originally had grass and trees. But without proper design, construction, and maintenance, grass can’t survive daily trampling by hundreds of little feet. And small trees can’t handle that much swinging and climbing without becoming spindly skeletons. After a few years of frustration with dust, mud, and dead trees, school principals begin to think that laying down asphalt might be a superior solution (and barely any worse ecologically). It’s also a lot easier to sweep up broken glass from asphalt than from dirt and weeds. Then, this being America, the expanse of asphalt starts to attract automobiles; in no time the former school park has a set of parallel white lines and a row of oil stains. Keeping a schoolyard green, clean, car-free, and environmentally productive can be more difficult than operating a regular neighborhood park.[…]

New York City has taken the concept the furthest. There, with the blessing of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, The Trust for Public Land (TPL) entered into a partnership with the Department of Education, the Department of Parks and Recreation and private funders (including MetLife, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, and The Michael and Susan Dell Foundation) to convert scores of decrepit and uninviting schoolyards into showcase parks.[…]

“This program is community-run,” says Mary Alice Lee, director of TPL’s New York City Playground Program. While all properties are fenced and have locks, in some places it’s the school custodial staff that has the only key, while in others it’s held by the neighborhood sponsoring organization or a block association. A few of the parks are left permanently unlocked. Also, each community sets its own hours. Most common is a schedule of 8 a.m. to dusk seven days a week except when school is in session. In some tougher neighborhoods the community wants the park closed earlier; the most restrictive schedule is 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays, and closed on Sundays.

Designing the space itself is a delicate balancing act that can take up to three months. The children themselves are the lead designers, responding to a set of questions and opportunities posed by TPL, but of course there are a bevy of realities that also affect decisions, including liability, equipment breakability, horticultural survivability, cost, and life lessons from previous play-parks. The children learn how to innovate, compromise, and reach a consensus when their initial ideas turn out to be too expensive or require too much space. “Because of the kids,” says Lee, “we’ve created murals and mosaics, a hair-braiding area, a jump-rope zone, planting gardens, performance stages, outdoor classrooms, rain gardens, and bowling lanes–as well as the usual soccer fields, running tracks, basketball and tennis courts, and play equipment.” […]

Read the full article by Peter Harnik on City Parks Blog or on Sustainable Cities Collective.

Sustainability as a vehicle for education

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on November 4th, 2009


Photograph: Anita Maric/News Team International

From “The sausage squad” by Chris Arnot, 27 October 2009

Gloucester Old Spots are thin on the ground in Coventry, UK. But then so are alpacas, pygmy goats, Jacob’s sheep or, indeed, sheep of any kind. Yet Cardinal Wiseman school, in the north-east of the city, is home to them all. Ducks, chickens and bantams as well, plus a veritable menagerie of parrots, guinea pigs, rabbits and a rare tortoise or two. On the principle set by Noah’s Ark, there are at least two of most species here at the winner of the DCSF award for sustainable schools. Only the Gloucester Old Spot disports itself in splendid isolation, not far from the touchline of a football pitch. It has had even more room to roam since its compatriots were despatched to the slaughterhouse, en route to becoming links in the school’s award-winning brand of sausages.

“We thought we’d keep this one as she’s handsome enough to enter for shows,” says Sean O’Donovan, assistant head, leaning over to scratch the sow’s stomach as she luxuriates in a shaft of autumnal sunshine. Eventually, she’ll get around to chomping the windfall apples from the school’s abundant orchard that year 10 pupils Joseph Stevens and Craig Pears have been scattering about her paddock. O’Donovan looks on approvingly before glancing down at the pig again and confiding: “We’re going to artificially inseminate her soon. In fact, we’re just waiting for the sperm. For some reason it has to come from Ireland.”…

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