1. David Benton
  2. Education
  3. Saturday, 08 February 2020
I was recently lucky enough to be included in a Learning Journey that took me to Byron Bay (on the far north coast of New South Wales, Australia) with colleagues from Woodleigh School. We are embarking on a mission to revolutionise the way that our school utilises the farm and bush reserve across our three campuses. We visited two great places that I wanted to share.


The Farm - see it here.

"Grow. Feed. Educate. Give back." This vision permeates everything that they do on the property. The premise is quite simple: find businesses and entrepreneurs willing to invest time and energy into the land who can adhere to their ideals.

As you walk around The Farm, the first thing you will find is a bespoke cafe and restaurant run by The Three Ducks which uses the produce grown on site (as well as other locally grown produce). The open track takes you on a guided walk around the property where the friendly people working the land will engage with you around how they are trying to make the world a better place. The common denominator is organic food produced for the benefit of the community. No chemicals (ok, water, vital salts from the soil and carbon dioxide for all that photosynthesising aside...), plenty of hard work, and a lot of smiles.


Mullumbimby Community Gardens - see them here.

Very different to The Farm on first impressions, this is council owned land that has been given to the Mullumbimby to grow food, engage the community in the restorative practice of gardening, and provide a support network for anyone who needs a place of refuge or something to eat.

"Growing to share and sharing to grow." A similar message to that of The Farm. As you walk around the most of the small allotments have FFA tacked to sign posts - Food For All. Anyone willing to come along and do an hour's weeding is then welcome to grab whatever food they need from these areas. Limes, carrots, beans... there's a huge range. And if you are there at lunchtime you can get an organic vegetarian lunch using whatever has been harvested on the day for just $8.


Our Take Away

We spent time workshopping after our visits, all of us feeling inspired to find ways in which the school can engage our community, not just students, teacher and parents, but the wider community as well. The school's vision of: Respect for Self. Respect for Others. Respect for Environment. has parallels with those of The Farm and Mullumbimby Community Gardens, and our learning journey has left us with more questions than answers. However, these questions are full of excitement around the possibility of doing something new in the education sector by engaging our community in farms, food and the environment.

I would love to hear examples you have come across of food production engaging their community, especially in the field of small scale agriculture. (Pun intended.)
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Hi David

I enjoyed this post. Many thanks! I used to live in Lennox Head, about 20 min south of Byron Bay. That's a very beautiful part of the World. I toy with the idea of living in that region again one day.

I love the idea of engaging kids and community through agriculture. What's the current situation with your school farm? How are you using it now? Do you have any firm ideas yet about what changes you are going to make? Have you considered growing using permaculture techniques? Doing so would offer a wonderful opportunity to teach your students and the community about ecosystems.
Adam Thyer, Founder at GreenExecutive
  1. more than a month ago
  2. Education
  3. # 1
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Hi Adam,

The farm is currently a resource primarily for the Agriculture pathway into VCE, but also for activities around sheep shows. The main thing holding us back is that there is only one person running everything, with whatever help she can get from students and teachers!

The reserve is currently in a similar situation, but we also have partnerships with Zoos Victoria, and are involved in conservation of biodiversity - such as our eastern quoll breeding program.

The only certainty regarding this precinct is that it is a long term project to realise its potential! It is an amazing space, and so nothing is set in stone regarding plans. As I said though, the potential is very exciting!
  1. more than a month ago
  2. Education
  3. # 2
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Adam Thyer, Founder at GreenExecutive
  1. more than a month ago
  2. Education
  3. # 3
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Yes! Apologies, will be more specific in future. Education loves its acronyms...
  1. more than a month ago
  2. Education
  3. # 4
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