Local primary school students are set to put their gardening and cooking skills to the test in the fourth annual Mullumbimby Farmers Market Grow Your Own Lunchbox Challenge.
On Friday November 2 teams of students from schools around the area will come together at the farmers market to display some of the produce they’ve grown in their gardens this year and to make a health tasty lunch using what they have harvested.
Cash prizes will be awarded in categories including best lunch, best snack, best drink, best garden innovations and best overall school garden.
An initiative of the Mullumbimby Farmers Market and its governing body, the North Byron Farmers Market Association, the Lunchbox Challenge aims to support and promote the growth of school kitchen gardens, to celebrate the great work already happening in local schools and to encourage children to grow and cook their own food.
The challenge is judged by a panel of farmers and foodies, who are on hand to chat with the students and share their tips for overcoming common problems such as pests and diseases in the garden or managing weeds without chemicals.
Each school also gives a short talk about their garden, which includes successes, failures and challenges they have faced, giving schools the chance to learn from each other.
Mullumbimby Farmers Market manager Allie Godfrey said the aim of the Grow Your Own Lunchbox was to get kids interested in learning about food and where it comes from.
“We use a bit of friendly competition and cash incentives to encourage students and schools to keep up the great work in their gardens.”
“It’s also a way of getting growing food into the curriculum at a grass roots level. “
Organic farmer, North Byron Farmers Market president, and lunchbox challenge judge, Rod Bruin, said he was looking forward to seeing what students would come up with this year.
It’s getting more and more difficult to judge each year,” he said.