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6 December 2017

Madeleine Brodie To Expand Kitchen Garden Program with ACF Grant

Madeleine Brodie (Cohort 2017) is a recipient of a 2017 Alumni Community Fund (ACF) grant, which she will use to grow the Kitchen Garden program at New Norfolk High School in Tasmania.

In September this year, Teach For Australia launched the Alumni Community Fund (ACF) to provide financial grants to the TFA community for initiatives driven by our Alumni, Associates and Teach to Lead Fellows. The funds were raised by the Alumni Gala Committee with proceeds from the 2016 Alumni Gala. Teach For Australia provided assistance by supporting the Alumni Grants Committee with the distribution of the funds. Grant recipients were announced in November 2017.

At New Norfolk High School in Tasmania, Madeleine Brodie established the Kitchen Garden Program this year, with the support of the school and principal Mr. Potito. Students built raised garden beds in a disused area between school buildings, then planted winter crops and an herb garden.

“The students built the beds, with the help of Mr. Potito and myself,” Madeleine says. “There were some students that really stepped up and took on leadership and responsibility roles during this time, often directing and guiding the project. Mr Potito was vital to this process, donating his time, equipment and expertise to help the students build the beds.”

Designing and building the garden has connected students to the area from the very beginning. Madeleine explains that, “Having ownership and pride over the space means that it is looked after, and it has been really lovely to see some of the students that built the beds coming back to show their friends the work they did.”

Through the Kitchen Garden Program, students develop an awareness of the environment, increase their physical activity, improve their diet, food consumption and sustainability practices, gain insight into vocational and tertiary education pathways, and grow their self-esteem, independence, respect, collaboration and leadership skills. In essence, the positive outcomes are aplenty. That’s why Madeleine will use the funds to strengthen and grow the program next year.

In 2018, she intends to design and build a market garden. It would include composting, a worm farm, and a poly tunnel greenhouse which “is designed to have rows of garden beds within it,” Madeleine says. “Given Tasmania’s colder climate, it is worth having some enclosed growing spaces, especially for seedlings. It also gives us an opportunity to look into design and the science of gardening.” They might also have the chance to design and build wicking beds from recycled intermediate bulk containers (IBC) – this would decrease watering and the students would learn about the science and benefit of reservoirs.