Stuartholme School’s Urban Farming Committee, led by Tomas Lillyman, has earned a nomination for The Educator magazine’s 5-Star Sustainable Programs 2023.
This innovative initiative, launched in 2020 as part of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) Agribusiness Gateway to Industry Schools Program (AGISP), aims to educate students about sustainable farming practices, challenge agricultural stereotypes, establish enduring school-industry partnerships and encourages young Queenslanders to become a part of tomorrow’s agriculture workforce.
The program offers a holistic approach to education and community development, connecting students with industry resources, educational events, and practical experiences. It covers a broad spectrum of topics, from permaculture to aquaponics systems, while emphasising the preservation of native flora and fauna and indigenous growing methods.
To sustain the program at Stuartholme, it relies on revenue generated from plant and food grown, which the students on the program sell during lunch breaks in the school term. The monies raised fund educational activities and the acquisition of equipment and plants. Over the years, it has expanded its offerings, introducing raised garden beds, solar-powered aquaponics systems, compost bins, smart gardens powered by the Internet of Things, and a recent addition, a native beehive housing Tetragonula Carbonaria (sugarbag bees).
This native beehive not only supports the local ecosystem but also showcases the students’ commitment to environmental education, as they have documented its growth in a time-lapse video entered into the Hermitage Plant Science Buzz About Bees Competition.
The program’s impact is evident through student engagement, club growth, and school-wide participation. With 22 members attending weekly meetings and a growing number of Year 12 leaders, the Urban Farming Committee is poised to become a potent advocate for sustainable agriculture.
Looking ahead, the program’s commitment to growth and improvement remains unwavering. Students and staff collaborate to expand initiatives, recruit more members, and bolster their role in promoting sustainable farming practices.
Stuartholme School’s Urban Farming Committee not only sows the seeds of sustainability but also nurtures a future where agriculture and the environment coexist harmoniously. Their nomination for The Educator‘s 5-Star Sustainable Programs 2023 is a testament to their dedication to a greener, more sustainable future. In a world grappling with environmental challenges, their program stands as a shining example of how education and action can drive positive change, one sustainable step at a time.