The CHS recognises its unique position to assist and guide a rapidly emerging trend to home or community grown produce, especially with children and youth. We want to transfer our knowledge and expertise and imbue youngsters with passion for growing their own fruit and vegetables. To this end, we extended our Orchards in Schools programme in 2014 to 5 Christchurch schools – Oaklands, St Martin’s, Gilberthorpe, Northcote and Addington. The brainchild of long-serving CHS member Carole Anderton, the CHS engaged two mature Canterbury University and Food Resilience Network members to manage the project which involved liaison with schools, identification and purchase of fruit and berry trees followed by the construction of the orchards with the children in each school. As much as possible they selected fruits and berries to ensure a long harvest season to help maintain the children’s interest.
The project is now coordinated by Mary Tingey ( A Place of Learning) who has made great progress and is rapidly expanding across Christchurch.
In 2015 and 2016 we planted orchards in 11 schools. In 2017 we are well advanced in our planning to plant orchards in another five schools. This year so far Haeata, Isleworth School, Fendalton Open Air School, Chisnallwood Intermediate and Elmwood Normal School are booked to have orchards planted.