Young Gardener Awards reveal kids really dig digging!

Young Gardener Awards reveal kids really dig digging!

Winner Emma Walsh (left),

Nearly 70 applications were received for this year’s T&G Garden to Table Young Gardener of the Year Awards from children aged between 7 and 11, as well as schools.

The awards were judged by well-known New Zealand gardening journalist and broadcaster, Lynda Hallinan; acclaimed New Zealand chef and restauranteur, Al Brown; executive officer at Garden to Table, Linda Taylor; and executive general manager of NZ Produce at T&G Global, Andrew Keaney.

The five T&G Garden to Table Young Gardener of the Year winners are:

Emma Walsh, age 7, from North Loburn School, North Canterbury

Emma is a special needs student who has 4p Syndrome and very limited speech. Her application was written by her mother. Emma’s mum says: “Gardening for Emma, is a source of wonder, connection with others, peace, calm and pride. It allows her to find success without the challenges of speech, written language and mathematics found in the classroom.”

Qwincey Mennell, age 10, from Dominion Road School, West Auckland

Qwincey says: “My favourite thing about gardening is learning to grow fruits, vegetables and trees. Without these we wouldn’t be able to live!

John Lundy, age 7, from North Loburn School, North Canterbury

John says: “I get to garden at school and at home. I take pride in our school gardens and use what we grow to cook with in our Garden to Table cooking classes. I gained a knife license at school to chop up the vegetables that we grow.”

Maima Ieru, age 10, from Cannons Creek Primary, Lower Hutt, Wellington

Maima says: “I love everything about gardening. I love propagating. Last year, we took cuttings with our garden teacher and grew Chinese lantern plants. I love planting things too. This year I helped plant an apricot tree. I have never eaten an apricot from a tree so I am excited to one day eat one.”

Freddie Meere, age 10, from Te Huruhi School, Waiheke, Auckland

Freddie says: “I’ve learnt a lot about gardening and am intrigued by how fun it is. But my favourite part is eating! In the garden, it’s a nice peaceful space and I like looking at the plants and smelling the lavender.

The T&G Garden to Table School of the Year was awarded to Haumoana School, Hastings, Hawke’s Bay, who grew produce for a local restaurant as there was a regional shortage of rocket. Teacher Jon Lovell, says: “The children absolutely thrive on the opportunities provided by the Garden to Table programme. Be-it in the kitchen or garden, they are totally engaged and thoroughly enjoy the opportunity for ‘hands on’ real life learning.”

Other schools recognised for their efforts include Diamond Harbour School in Banks Peninsula, Canterbury, who were awarded second place and Forrest Hill School on the North Shore in Auckland, who were awarded third place.





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