Dig for Victory cultivates history and vegetables

Issue: Volume 98, Number 16

Posted: 12 September 2019
Reference #: 1H9yav

Despite an earlier annihilation by rabbits, an edible Dig for Victory garden planted by students from seven Wellington schools in Parliament grounds is now on track to produce a bumper harvest.

Earlier this year, students from seven Wellington schools, along with supporters from the RSA and local chefs, planted a garden in the grounds of Parliament to launch a new curriculum resource – Dig for Victory. 

Rabbits annihilated nearly the whole vege patch, leaving just the beetroot and silverbeet.

The garden has now been replanted, surrounded by a rabbit-proof fence, and the Garden to Table Trust is still on track to produce a harvest for the organisation’s 10th birthday on 14 November.

Permission to establish an edible Dig for Victory garden in Parliament grounds was given by Trevor Mallard, Speaker of the House of Representatives. 

“We planted ‘old-fashioned’ World War II-style vegetables in a very traditional garden on the lawns beside the library to show the public that anyone can grow vegetables anywhere and to inspire a new generation to start growing,” explains Victoria Bernard, Trust programme coordinator for Wellington.

Some of the produce will be given to charity when the vegetables are harvested in November. Victoria has also arranged for chef Steve Logan to use the vegetables at Bellamy’s, the parliamentary restaurant. 

“I am working on having a rabbit dish on the menu to counteract the stress of it all,” she says.

Dig for Victory curriculum resource

Initially released in time for Anzac Day, the Dig for Victory curriculum resource teaches young students about a World War II programme of the same name. At the time, rationing was in place across the country and many food products were shipped directly to troops, including
US soldiers stationed in the Pacific. 

“Dig for Victory encouraged people to grow their own vegetables at home, to be more self-sufficient,” says Victoria.

The curriculum resource was written by Victoria, who is a registered primary school teacher. 

She says the resource leads teachers and students through the history of the ‘Home Front’ in New Zealand, using historical photos and newspaper articles. 

A battleships game explores the perils of importing and exporting food across enemy seas, leading to the need for rationing. Wartime recipes and newspaper articles are analysed and then the ultimate challenge is set: to grow a Dig for Victory garden for a contemporary cause, such as climate change, obesity, mental health or food security.

Night vision

A recipe for ‘See in the Dark’ Anzac biscuits has been one of the most popular recipes to be downloaded from the Garden to Table website. 

“They are Anzac biscuits with rosemary from the garden for remembrance, poppy seeds for World War I remembrance, and grated carrot because of the ‘see in the dark’ propaganda,” explains Victoria.

“This British propaganda during World War II aimed to trick the Germans because the Brits had discovered radar and they didn’t want the Germans to know. 

“They also had a glut of carrots. It’s such a beautiful story for children – it opens up the whole history and intrigues them.”

The Garden to Table Trust hopes to use the 14 November celebration as an opportunity to challenge a mayor from the region to start a
Dig for Victory garden in Wellington and then pass on that challenge to other mayors. 

“We want it to catch on around the country, so all these civic gardens get turned into Dig for Victory gardens,” she says.

Education for sustainability

Mō tātou te taiao ko te atawhai, mō tātou te taiao ko to oranga. 

It is for us to care for and look after the environment to ensure its wellbeing, in doing so we ensure our own wellbeing and that of our future generations.

The New Zealand Curriculum focuses on 21st-century learning, ensuring learners are equipped to participate in and contribute to their own society and the wider world. An important part of this is encouraging students to consider significant future-focused issues, such as sustainability.

Structuring learning around a unifying theme such as sustainability provides opportunities for students to make connections between learning areas, competencies and values. It requires teaching and learning approaches that draw on all elements of effective pedagogy and focuses on empowering students to take action for a sustainable future.

Sustainability in Te Mātauranga o Aotearoa connects to the principle “environmental health is personal health”. This curriculum endorses a place for the school, the family, the community, the hapū, and iwi groups to focus on the place of the student in their own world. Therefore, the school-based curriculum supports holistic teaching programmes and learning pathways that enable the learner to engage purposefully with the environment.

For more information, visit: Education for sustainability(external link)

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero, reporter@edgazette.govt.nz

Posted: 11:35 am, 12 September 2019

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