17 Dec 2020

Canterbury students get growing ahead of FREE garden festival


Green fingers are at work this summer as seven schools from around Canterbury get ready to take part in Grow Ōtautahi Christchurch Garden Festival in March next year.

The School Gardens are a special part of the festival, giving local school students the opportunity to showcase their garden design and growing talents. Grow Ōtautahi is a not-for-profit, free festival that celebrates our community, champions our environment and supports education.

Festival Director Sandi MacRae has spent the past fortnight visiting the schools involved and says she’s excited about the progress being made.

“Each school is given a 4mx4m plot to design and plant in a way that reflects their school or their surrounding environment. I just know that visitors to the festival are going to love what the students are coming up with. We’re thrilled to have them involved and recognise the huge effort that’s going in to get ready for the festival.”

Grow Ōtautahi Youth Ambassador Lincoln Roper is working alongside the schools and praised the efforts so far. “It has been fantastic to see the passion of the teachers and students involved – particularly the teachers who are going above and beyond to be part of the festival. I see supporting the people involved in Grow as part of being an Ambassador; I’m putting a friendly face on primary industries, offering up my experience in an approachable way to support future generations.”

Schools involved in Grow Ōtautahi 2021 are West Rolleston, Diamond Harbour, Rudolf Steiner, Banks Avenue, West Eyreton, St Margaret’s, and St Marks. Nicky Ryan-Yates, of St Albans Catholic School, will be the school garden mentor for 2021.

Liz Coster, of St Mark's School, says they are excited to showcase the school's journey as a community of active learners. “We are looking forward to being involved with this year's Grow Ōtautahi festival.” While West Rolleston School’s Sarah Kerkhofs says: “We are looking forward to participating in our second Grow festival! We have a great new design featuring a place everyone can call home!”

All seven school gardens will be on display over the three days of Grow Ōtautahi in 2021. Students and teachers will be on-site to talk visitors through their work.