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Lumsden Primary School creates NZ’s first food forest

Submitted by on August 26, 2013 – 4:00 pm
Credit: Robert Guyton

Credit: Robert Guyton

Lumsden Primary School lost a sizable chunk of its playground this week, but in its place gained the country’s first-ever school food-forest.
Where for years and years only grass grew, there now grows a mixed ‘orchard’ of apple, pears, plum and peach trees, all planted by the pupils of the rural Southland school. Red and black currants along with cranberries, raspberries, feijoa and hazels fill the spaces between the fruit trees, and they in turn are underplanted with herbs; rosemary, sage, feverfew and other ‘bits and bobs’ brought from home gardens by the children, as a contribution toward the establishment of the school’s food-forest.
It’s a wonderful sight, now that the planting is done, the winding path through the food-forest finished and the trees and bushes pruned and waiting for the flush of spring growth. It was a cheering sight too, when the planting activity was in full-swing; parents and board of trustee members spading and forking to make the digging easier for the littlest children, older students guiding the new-entrants as to how arrange the roots of an apple tree to give it the best chance of success, members of the school’s ‘Green Team’, bringing in bucket’s-full of manure to line the bottom of each planting hole, the school’s principal, trying unsuccessfully to keep his clean clothes and hands free of dirt, and the initiators of the project to transform the playground into a fresh-food-space, Robyn and Robert Guyton, directing operations like friendly policemen on traffic duty.
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