CERES ripples

Lorna Pettifer, CERES Education Group Manager, has a wicked sense of humour and a keen appreciation of 80’s synth-rock bands.  Last Thursday on stage at the Plaza Ballroom as she accepted the Premiers Award for Sustainability award for Education from Victorian Environment Minister Lily D’ambrosio, Lorna wouldn’t have surprised her workmates if she had pulled out a keytar (I believe she actually owns one) and slayed the room with a Devo-inspired version of Greatest Love of All….. I believe that children are our future…. 

Lorna, however, has another side; a deeply felt sense of her people, her work and her sector.  And so for this occasion she shared with her peers an email Simone Glen-Ward, a primary school teacher who had attended an environmental educators course at CERES. The email went….

Hi Lorna, unfortunately I am unable to attend today’s session due to work commitments.

Here are some of the impacts that CERES has made on my practice to date –

  • We have installed an in-ground composter into one of our veggie beds, this seems to have had an almost immediate and magical effect, soil seems to be retaining water better and production is up!
  • The children have done a waste audit to investigate whether we are all putting waste into the correct bins and to talk about plastic and have noticed a decrease in plastic wrap and packaged foods in lunchboxes. It’s a start.
  • We have been investigating which insects like certain environments (teaching the word habitat) and with children and families have begun to collect materials to create our own insect hotel.
  • We have recommitted to finding recycled sources of drawing paper asking families if they have access through their workplaces
  • Please tell Tom that I have convinced my kindergarten cohort to go glitter free which should make him very happy!
  • Have sourced a book through the Monash council that shows how to plant a garden for wildlife and has information about the native plants to our area.
  • Have told the story of Tiddalik which it turns out is actually a locally relevant story as it originates in Gippsland!
  • We have begun to collect coffee grounds from the cafe across the road from us, this has boosted our worm population!
  • I feel more confident in my own knowledge and my own ability to transfer that knowledge to children and to explore their understandings in a way that is engaging and empowering.
  • I have recommitted to ensuring that sustainability is embedded into the curriculum on a daily basis not just on an ad-hoc basis to tick a box.

Simone then wrote an equally exhaustive list of projects she was planning to do with her students before signing off.  

The email speaks volumes about the impact CERES has around our State.  On-site and at over 360 schools CERES’ lessons nurturing the student and the earth ripple out through thousands of teachers and tens of thousands of children and adults of all abilities and backgrounds every year. 

So this week if you are clicking on a Generous Cooks Box in the webshop and wondering  where the proceeds of your grocery dollars are going think about Lorna and Simone and the spreading ripples. 

Know Thy Heirloom 

You can never have too many, there are so many varieties you’ll only ever taste if you grow them at home and once you harvest a your own there’s no going back.   

For the casual observer growing tomatoes at home seems simple.  However, if you are admitted in the world of a gardener at one with their amish paste and san marzano suddenly there’s so much to learn.  To prune or not to prune?  How to stake and when, watering when and how much is enough or not?  What to feed?  And what’s that disease?

This November 11th in the fabulous outdoor Honey Lane garden classroom we’re inviting you to delve deep into the delicious art of growing your own backyard tomatoes at CERES Brunswick East.

This practical workshop (from 9.30-12.30) is exclusively for  Fair Food members and will be led by Carol Henderson (she’s run over 100 courses), a passionate food gardener and hands-on horticulture teacher.

At the end you go home with a CERES’ heirloom seedling (we’re growing over 30 varieties this year) and lots of skills for a backyard bed, balcony or shared plot harvest. All levels of experience welcome!

Have a great week

Chris

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