School supports community garden

POSITIVE PARTNERSHIP: Scott Rogasch and Justin Westhoff with Tanunda Lutheran School Year 6/7 teacher Naomi Timms and Year 1 student Hayley Martin.

POSITIVE PARTNERSHIP: Scott Rogasch and Justin Westhoff with Tanunda Lutheran School Year 6/7 teacher Naomi Timms and Year 1 student Hayley Martin.

A stroke of luck has meant land seated next to a Barossa primary school will become home to a garden to enhance students’ learning, plus provide them, restaurants and the homeless with healthy meals.

The project has been realised by good mates and businessmen Scott Rogasch and Port Adelaide Football Club’s Justin Westhoff, who together operate the food van Forage Supply Co.

They aim to roll out community gardens, with the first launched at Tanunda Lutheran School.

Forage Supply Co sprung into action last year when the duo realised the world “consumes too much food and materials”.

“The world’s population is growing by 228,000 people every day and the earth contains a finite amount of resources,” Mr Rogasch said.

“It’s vital we play our part to restore balance and protect the natural world from further destruction.”

The former TLS student, whose parent’s vineyard property borders the school’s oval, has transformed a section of the land over the past week to include five large garden beds, a seating area for student learning and canopy trellising.

For school principal Darren Stevenson, the initiative was not only a “stroke of luck” to be located next door, but also a great opportunity for student learning.

He, with Mr Rogasch, said the garden beds would be worked on by students from the Out of School Care Hours program who would in turn learn about sustainable practices and have access to healthier food. 

In addition, Forage Supply Co and other local restaurants will purchase produce from the school and use it to create sustainable meals. 

“We will also use the produce to donate more meals to the homeless at the Hutt Street Centre,” Mr Rogasch said.

The community garden was the first for Forest Supply Co and the men were optimistic the success of this garden would mean more community gardens would pop up using their model.

Funds for their work had been realised through donations from the community and further afield with more than $5500 already raised, yet their overall community gardens’ project aimed to meet a target of $20,000.  

Mr Rogasch said reward incentives had been put in place to generous donors from $25, which meant their name placed on the 'First Foragers' garden wall. A $5000 donation means becoming a garden founding and plaque recognition partner, plus a cocktail and exclusive dinner invitation for four, VIP invitation to future Forage Supply Co events and free hire of the garden for corporate events.

The pair expressed gratitude towards their supporters and those who had supplied materials for the garden.

To learn more, visit the Facebook page, or to support the community garden program, visit Chuffed.org.

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