The Te Kauwhata Primary school garden is nourishing students and the wider community.
Produce from the Te Kauwhata Primary School garden has helped fill the bellies of its students, their families and the community.
The hard work from the school on waste minimisation and sustainability appears to have paid off in more ways than one.
Some of the produce is turned into soup during winter for the children, a portion goes to the community house, some is put on sale at the local petrol station and some goes home with students.
"We teach and support the students on how to grow their own produce, and then how to use this well," principal Vicki Saunders said.
The students ranging from years 1 to 6 have all been involved in the project.
The school garden also has a thriving worm farm, where students learn to sort organic and inorganic waste from the school rubbish bins, and then how to feed this to worms.
"We're increasingly seeing a reduction in waste that can't be recycled or composted [and] students are bringing less plastic wrap to school, and trying to bring more friendly 'nude food' options," Saunders said.
The resulting fertiliser is used both for their own garden, and is sold as worm juice to community gardeners.
Waikato district mayor Allan Sanson was given a tour of the school's well established gardens where students have learnt to harvest seedlings, plant and cultivate vegetables.
Sanson's visit was part of an initiative from the combined councils of the Waikato and Waipa area, seeking to raise awareness of the waste minimisation activities in the region.
He was impressed by the students knowledge and ability in the garden, and highlighted the importance of teaching children the skills of sustainable living.
"If we want our communities to become more sustainable, we have to start with the kids. They are the ones who can learn quickly and can teach these skills to their family at home," Sanson said.
The school's efforts in sustainability have been rewarded with a Silver rating by Enviroschools, and it hopes to raise this to a Green-Gold by the end of next year.
Additionally, the school is looking at helping initiate a larger community 'learning' garden in Te Kauwhata, where the students can share their knowledge with the wider community members.