LUNCHBOX: Ocean Shores Public School meets the Lunchbox Challenge.
LUNCHBOX: Ocean Shores Public School meets the Lunchbox Challenge. Kate O'Neill

Growing your lunchbox

LOCAL school students are busily planting, mulching, watering, harvesting, pickling and preserving in preparation for this year's Mullumbimby Farmers Market Grow Your Own Lunchbox Challenge.

The second annual challenge, to be held at the Mullumbimby Farmers Market on Friday, November 4, will see schools from around the region come together for a morning of fun and friendly competition based on the activities they have held in and around their school kitchen gardens this year.

Schools are invited to enter four categories: a display of produce from their school garden, a preserve or pickle made from what they have harvested in the garden, fundraising ideas to keep their garden running, and the big event, The Lunchbox Challenge, which will see groups of students produce a healthy lunch using ingredients sourced primarily from the garden.

Seven schools have signed up to this year's challenge so far, including Ocean Shores Public School, The Pocket Public School, Shearwater Steiner School, Main Arm Public School, Crabbes Creek Public School, Mullumbimby Public School and Wilsons Creek Public School.

At Ocean Shores Public School, a group of Year 5 and 6 students have taken the Lunchbox Challenge, led by teacher Merryl Toop and assistant Louise Carr.

The students have recently planted their own bed of vegetables in the school's kitchen garden, which is also home to a school composting system, several hives of native bees and a new flock of chickens. In the lead up to the Challenge, they will be caring for their plants, as well as planning their lunchbox and preparing preserves based on other vegetables or fruit in abundance in the school garden.

Students Lucy Colli and Naiya Boschma Wagner said they were excited to be a part of the challenge and were enjoying the sense of achievement that comes with growing your own food.

"We've grown the plant from a seedling, then we're watching the progress and each step and then we'll get the final result,” said Naiya.

"We'll see the plants come alive and we can say 'We did that',” said Lucy.

The Grow Your Own Lunchbox Challenge will be held at the Mullumbimby Farmers Market on November 4.


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