Healthy Lessons in the Garden by Annette McFarlane

With newspaper headlines trumpeting an epidemic of obesity and poor dietary habits amongst school children, school gardening programs can:

  • Engage children in a non-competitive, physical activity

  • Expand children’s knowledge and acceptance of different fruit and vegetables

  • Improve children’s dietary habits

“Successful school gardening programs rely on committed teachers making a conscious effort to link mainstream curriculum units such as art, reading, writing, mathematics and science to gardening related activities. By weaving gardening activities into other lessons, students will find all classes far more interesting and relevant to their needs. “


What Schools Can Do

  • Schools may encourage monetary or in-kind support of school gardening programs by:
  • Examining potential grant monies available through Federal, State and local government organization as well as gaming funds, Telstra, etc
  • Contacting hotels and clubs who typically support sports related school events with a request for support of non-competitive gardening activities
  • Requesting help from local garden club members when undertaking gardening activities and enlisting their support through provision of their gardening expertise
  • Introducing gardening levy of a dollar per child to fund the purchase of seeds and seedlings
  • Requesting donations of potting mix, pots, compost, seeds and seedlings
  • Enlisting the support of a local nursery in the provision of horticultural expertise
  • Selling herbs and vegetables grown and harvested from the school garden to teachers and parents to fund the garden

Annette McFarlane first studied horticulture in Melbourne, gaining initial practical experience in various parts of Australia and New Zealand. She moved to her version of gardening paradise in Brisbanes subtropical climate more than twenty five years ago. Annette is currently a senior lecturer in horticulture at the Grovely TAFE Horticultural College in Brisbane
Radio listeners throughout south east Queensland regularly tune in to hear her words of wisdom each Saturday morning from 6.00am � 7.00am during Gardening Talkback on ABC Radio 612 4QR. Annette contributes regularly to a variety of horticultural publications and is currently a garden feature writer for Gardening Australia, The Organic Gardener, Burkes Backyard Magazine, Your Garden and the Sunday Mail.
Annette is the author of three titles. Her book, Organic Vegetable Gardening, has sold over 36,000 copies. Her most release, Successful Gardening in Warm Climates, is published by ABC Books.Annette publishes an independent gardening information service on the web at

School Funding Links Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Gardens

Or contact you local council member.




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