Families, school staff and Good Neighbour organisers gathered at Brookfield Primary School last weekend to rebuild and build extra raised gardens which will now become an integral part of a food and nutrition learning programme for the children.

Staff and parents of Brookfield Primary School undertook a range of fundraising activities to meet the cost of building the raised gardens. With only half the money raised and the project booked to take place at the end of April, the school was hugely grateful when New Zealand Mānuka Seaweeds offered to cover the balance of the costs as well as supply all the garden mulch they wanted.

Wayne Roberts, Business Development Manager from New Zealand Manuka Seaweeds, also lent a hand over the two day project alongside 30-odd other volunteers, “It’s a great project and we are very happy to be involved.

“Good Neighbour is a great initiative in getting people together and kids involved in building gardens and growing food for themselves. We really like how the school is now also looking at ways to tie this Project into their education programme.”

Andrea Green from Good Neighbour organised and directed the filling of the gardens according to a tried and tested formula. Although she had never seen or used the Kolush mulch before, she was very excited to be working with it on this project.

“The mulch is extraordinary, it smells fabulous, I absolutely love it,” said Green. “I think that everything is going to grow tremendously well and the mineral content is so rich, I am delighted.”

Green explained that the process they used included layering the mulch with sand, blood & bone mix, and straw, before finishing with a top layer of mulch to protect the garden plus retain moisture to help reduce the need for so much watering through the summer months.

“A lot of mulch we’ve used before is just chipped bark which is too woody and thick but this is very, very fine. It’s definitely my favourite mulch that we’ve used.”

The school will be taking some time to work out how they want the gardens to be planted but are considering a mix of flowers, vegetables and fruiting plants to help create a diverse learning environment for the children. A butterfly house will also be built soon plus hives may be brought in to support the growth of the plants and vegetables.