Our local farmers and chefs of the future once again showed some amazing skills at the 2019 Mullumbimby Farmers Market fifth annual Grow Your Own Lunchbox Challenge.

Six local primary schools took part – Shearwater Steiner, Ocean Shores, The Pocket, Crabbes Creek, Brunswick Heads and Wilsons Creek – each bringing fresh produce grown in their school garden to make a fresh, healthy and delicious lunchbox meal.

With so many tasty creations it was a tough job for judges Rebecca Barnes, Rod Bruin, Leone McRae and David Forrest (all local farmers), but after much deliberation, they awarded $250 lunch box prizes to Shearwater for Best Lunch Box Main ( Madagascar bean salad), The Pocket for Best Snack (frittata), Brunswick Heads for Best Snack (baba ghanoush), Wilsons Creek Best Dessert (orange cake), Crabbes Creek for Best Preserve (mulberry jam)  and Ocean Shores Best Drink (pineapple and mint drink).

Along with their lunchbox meals, students also had the opportunity to talk about what they’d been up to in their gardens this year, and display things they had made or preserved. Wilsons Creek, for example, brought preserved oranges, recycled container gardens and hanging strawberry gardens, Shearwater had ground turmeric, Davidson Plum Jam and some of the baby chicks they’d hatched this year, while Crabbes Creek had marigold and sunflowers seeds they had saved from their garden, which they shared with other schools and spectators.

In the garden category, prizes of $250 went to Shearwater Steiner School for Best Self Sufficient Garden, Ocean Shores Public School for Best New Addition the Garden for their Berry Garden, The Pocket for Best New Garden Club, Crabbes Creek won best Seed Saving Program, Brunswick Heads won Best Diversity in the Garden and Wilsons Creek took the prize for Best Garden overall.

Market Manager Allie Godfrey said it was more important now than ever that children be taught how to grow their own food and to care for their environment, and that local schools were doing an incredible job.

“Looking around today it’s pretty clear that the future is in good hands,” she said.

SPECIAL THANKS TO OUR JUDGES, MC RACHEL TORISE FROM THE BAY FM BELLY SHOW AND TO ALL OF OUR WONDERFUL SCHOOLS AND TEACHERS!