School Food Gardens

‘Growing Schools’ is a 4-part documentary series which showcases empowered children involved in transforming their school grounds into abundant food gardens and nature havens. It explores the proven benefits of gardening and nature connection for children’s motivation, academic achievement, health and wellbeing. These stories exemplify how the wider community can play a vital part in supporting and sustaining a school garden programme, for the benefit of all.
You can watch the free trailer below - or purchase the full doco for immediate download:



For more info and the full series go to:

The passion of the teachers at Auckland’s Yendarra Kindergarten is evident in this story, where caring for each other and learning together is part and parcel of the daily routine. These kids know where their food comes from, and they’re excited about their veges – what a gift to be able to give to the next generation.

This documentary shows how any early childhood centre can develop exceptional outdoor nurture-learn-play spaces, gorgeous productive food gardens – and delightfully happy children. It depicts the inspiring learning environments of ten pre-schools in Aotearoa-New Zealand, where gardens are central to their curriculum. These learnscapes facilitate children’s wholistic development – through connecting with the natural world and the source of their food, supported by extended community. ‘Awakening Gardeners’ is Part 1 of the ‘Growing Schools’ series.
You can watch the free trailer below - or purchase the full doco for immediate download:


What an amazing story of holistic education this is! The teachers at Golden Bay Kindergarten have incorporated local food production into every aspect of their curriculum. They are incredibly passionate about inspiring their little ones to experience the environment in which they live, and their passion shows – the fun and exciting things on the programme at Golden Bay Kindy are making us want to be kids all over again!

In this story we meet up with Principal Shane Ngatai and some of the kids at Hamilton's Rhode Street School. With a roll made up of 73% Maori from 12 different iwi, plus children from 18 other nationalities the school and learning is centred around Maori worldview. Alexandra and Amelia welcomed us and showed us round the school where food is definitely a major part of the curriculum. The monarch butterflies also find the school gardens a good source of food with swan plants laden with crysalids outside the classrooms, where hydroponic growing experiments hang in the windows. Providing the children with most of their meals including breakfast is not an easy task so as much food as possible is grown in the school grounds and the children also do turns in the commercial kitchen(the only one in any school in NZ; when we visited they were making muffins with frozen raspberries from the gardens for afternoon tea. The soils are all peat so they make a good growing medium, even for the 200 year old variety of potatoes unearthed from an ancient Maori Pa, Doubtless Bay; Shane and his daughter Amelia were given after speaking at a conference. They produced a massive crop which were cooked up for all as hangi and boil-ups and the school remains a guardian for the seed potatoes. There are many fruit trees on site, children are taught to graft trees, and prune and espalier them too. Over 1000 fruit trees have been planted and overseas sponsors are encouraged to be involved with their growing trees via blogs. Every year the school has a kai fest, a huge fund raiser for the school one class made blueberry ice cream which proved so popular they were able to buy an ice cream maker to make it with in the future. ‘As schools go it is quite small but has a beautiful atmosphere’. Find out more on the schools website
Planting fruit trees with lots of aroha (love) – that’s the mission of two Enviroschools coordinators on the East Coast of the North Island. Kirsty Gaddum and Kauri Forno have brought together teachers, children and some special helpers for a hui (gathering) to begin planting a food forest at Waikirikiri Bilingual School, aiming to teach the tamariki (children) exactly where their kai (food) comes from. To find out more about Enviroschools, visit this website:

The Localising Food team toured the country and witnessed many exciting child-led initiatives to grow, process and preserve their kai. Growing Schools tells the beautiful story of children discovering where their food 'really' comes from. It explores the benefits of school gardens and features testimony from teachers and gardens facilitators who have seen the amazing growth in the children as a result. This documentary will help expand the school garden culture in New Zealand and support children to establish a life-long connection with their food.

You can watch the free trailer below - or purchase the full doco for immediate download:


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The Institute of Earthcare Education Aotearoa
Tui, No 211 McShane Rd,
Wainui Bay, Takaka 7183
Registered Charitable Trust
Personal donations qualify for a 33% Tax Rebate
Charities Commission reg # is CC45548
Our IRD No is: 77-957-669

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