An urban farm incorporated into a Victorian primary school is on the way to producing over 1.5 tonnes of fresh produce a year, providing its students with access to a wide range of fruit and vegetables, and assisting in teaching the importance of growing food and healthy eating.
Athol Road Primary School in Springvale has just under 400 students, comprising over 30 different cultures with approximately 80 per cent of students who do not speak English at home.
The new 66 square metre urban farm is already producing and abundance of produce, including leafy greens, broccoli, eggplant, beans, peas, herbs, berries and much more – with an estimated value of around $15,000 for the school community. This produce is being distributed to families of students who attend the school.
Using the Biofilta’s Foodcube urban farming system, which is designed and manufactured in Melbourne, the Athol Road Primary School farm is designed to be highly productive and efficient.
The Foodcube is the result of over five years of research and development, and a combined $6 million in investment by Biofilta and partner companies. According to Biofilta, the Foodcube is “the most water efficient, affordable, versatile, modular urban farming system on the market”.
Biofilta revealed the system is capable of producing 25 kilograms of fresh vegetables and herbs per square metre.
Athol Road Primary Environmental Education teacher, Bryan Hunter, added, “The Biofilta urban farm provides the school with the flexibility to grow large amounts of fresh produce while minimising water usage and labour time which previously had been spent on weeding.
“It also allows the school to continue growing vegetables during school holidays as Foodcubes are able to hold water through these periods with minimal maintenance. Produce is used in school cooking programs with excess sold to the local community at weekly markets where the money raised goes towards the purchase of seeds and seedlings. Parents have commented how they love the school produce straight from the garden.”