Abundance, gratitude and…yum!! Tomatoes galore!

Naku te rourou nau te rourou ka ora ai te iwi

With your basket and my basket the people will thrive.

With the combined efforts of all, everyone benefits!

After a false start, we finally made it to 185 Hope to harvest tomatoes, capsicum, onions and pumpkin. This has become an annual trip. While providing our winter lunch programme with locally sourced and preserved food is our direct aim, living the values of kotahitanga/ working as one and whānaungātanga/ building relationships through shared experiences deepens our sense of belonging together.

Children in Field

These ultimate objectives are always at the heart of the experiences we plan for at Bays Montessori. Discussing, picking, organising, washing, cutting and processing, then labeling, storing and finally sharing the delicious culmination of our work together is a learning opportunity we have all contributed to. These efforts also support our Strategic Plan’s sustainability goal by providing ngā tamariki with a view of food production on a scale that extends beyond our school and home gardens and makes evident the benefit and abundance from collective contribution, the “work of many hands…”

Kia ora koutou for everyone’s labour and laughs! Efforts didn’t stop at the farm though, once back at kura, helpers unloaded the boot and organised, weighed and sorted our bounty into packets. These went home with many whānau, returned next day ready to sterilise, which was a herculean effort by Meenu. We will plan for a few volunteers to undertake this essential process next year…

Over the afternoon, at home and the next day we washed, chopped, sniffed and experienced the joy (and work!) a project of this scale requires. Discussion, reflection on our own māra/garden, reading and sharing experiences helped inform what was to come. Identifying the different scents individually and then combined led Otilie to liken the fragrances together as “smelling like sausages”.

Children Preparing in a small group

What learning happened before and after: Harvesting and giving thanks to atua and the plants is a daily occurrence at kura. Considering ingredients, preparing food and delivering it to the kīhini for cooking are part of the participation every child has the opportunity to engage in. Harvesting from our own mārā and rākau is only part of a cycle. Watching, listening, smelling and caring for living things throughout the seasons fosters connections which support us to recognise links between ourselves and how our actions influence the food we produce from our mārā and rākau. We hope to instill a lifelong value of viewing ourselves as kaitiaki/guardians and protectors of Earth’s resources. Our objective is to make visible to the children the ability we have collectively to contribute to our community. And it is fun! Joy is an essential ingredient when cultivating skills for life-long learning.

The next day we got to taste our efforts. Meenu cooked up our sauce into a delicious soup. “I love tomatoes!” exclaimed Lloyd. While Daniel was willing to taste and consider his preconceived notions, Bas was keen for more!

Thanks for the huge efforts at home and the messy aftermath! By the end of the week, we were creating labels for our bounty.

Tomato Jar Labels

We plan so that each child has an opportunity to participate in the picking, community preparation and preservation efforts during their years at Nelson Montessori. From 90 kg of tomatoes, 100 capsicum, 25 onions, basil and thyme and parsley from our own māra, we have about 70 litres of abundance!

This…………. to this!!!!!!

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