Growing appetite for produce

Students from Toongabbie Primary School have taken the garden club concept to a whole new level.

They have begun supplying micro herbs, edible flowers and other specialty produce to local pubs.

What started out as a program to help children learn about sustainability has turned into a thriving fundraising venture that has the full support of the local community and businesses.

Micro herbs, also known as baby greens, are used as garnish in meals or as an ingredient.

Toongabbie Primary School parent Bronwyn Manley, who works at Tinamba Hotel, instigated the idea of a garden club for the school that could also supply produce to local hotels.

Ms Manley said following a conversation with Tinamba Hotel head chef Daniel Keck, she decided to explore with the children, the range of micro herbs and edible flowers they would be able to produce.

“With trial and error, and a great deal of enthusiasm, they have developed a diverse, high quality range of produce,” she said.

The Toongabbie students now supply the Tinamba Hotel and the Criterion Hotel in Sale.

Damien Gannon is the part -owner of the Tinamba Hotel and has been sourcing micro herbs and edible flowers from Toongabbie Primary School.

Mr Gannon said the partnership benefited his business, as well as the school.

He said he was particularly happy with the program because it could be quite difficult to source produce and ingredients straight from growers.

Latrobe City Councillor Kellie O’Callaghan has been working with the students and parents at Toongabbie to highlight the successes that can be achieved when communities work together.

“This project has captured the imagination of not only the kids, but the entire school and broader community,” Cr O’Callaghan said.

“The businesses supporting the program are overwhelmingly positive about the quality of the produce and the opportunity for learning and sharing of skills that the project has achieved.”