The Byron Shire’s budding farmers and chefs of the future came together at the Mullumbimby Farmers Market on Friday for the fourth annual Grow Your Own Lunchbox Challenge.
Primary school students from seven local schools created a display of their garden produce, talked about their gardens and then presented a lunch made using the produce they’d grown.
There were plenty of stories to share – for example, this year Shearwater Steiner School grew a crop of rain-fed rice for the first time, and made more than $100 by selling turmeric to a local cafe for their turmeric chai lattes. Ocean Shores Public School grew dragonfruit for the first time and planted a new berry farm, Main Arm catered for their Grandparents Day using produce from their garden and Mullumbimby Public School added a hive of native bees and edible flowers to their herb garden.
At Durrumbul School, they had a bumper crop of jaboticaba fruit, which they turned into icy poles and juice, while at Crabbes Creek, they learnt all about composting, adding a compost bucket system to the garden beds. Wilsons Creek developed a new program to turn food scraps into soil.
Students and teachers spent the morning sharing stories, information, cuttings and seeds, cuddling Shearwater’s baby chicks and tasting the delicious dishes created by schools.
Judges Leone McRae, of The Pocket macadamia farm, Nudgel Nuts, and organic farmer and educator, David Forrest, of Organic Forrest, awarded the $250 lunchbox prizes to Ocean Shores Public School for their Healthy Lettuce Cups with a Butter Bean Salad, Durrumbul for their Jaboticaba Juice, Shearwater for their Cassava Cake and Wilson Creek for their Sweet Potato Crisps with Ginger and Turmeric Hummus.
Garden prizes of $250 each went to Ocean Shores for Best Garden, Crabbes Creek for their new compost system, Durrumbul for their native TC bee education program, Mullumbimby for their integrated herb, flower, insect and bee garden, Shearwater for Best Native Garden, Wilsons Creek for their closed-in garden systems and recycling initiatives and Main Arm for their newspaper seed raising pots.
Market manager and Lunchbox Challenge coordinator Allie Godfrey said the Lunchbox Challenge was designed as a way of encouraging and supporting local school kitchen gardens and the next generation of farmers.
She said it was inspiring to see the passion and energy being put into growing food at local schools.
”With the skills they’re developing the future is looking bright,” she said.
SPECIAL MENTION TO OUR MC LARRY,FROM BAY FM, OUR JUDGES DAVID FORREST and LEONE MCRAE and to ALL THE STUDENTS AND TEACHERS WHO PUT IN SO MUCH HARD WORK. THANK YOU!!