Yates and Junior Landcare have teamed up again to offer children, families, schools and community groups some fabulous prizes just by growing their own winter vegies and sharing their story.
Yates will be providing free seeds and Gardening 4 Kids stocks plenty of child friendly garden tools, equipment and gloves to help you on your way with the challenge. And this year, our very own Erica Lovel will be on the judging panel.
Gardening 4 Kids will be offering tips and advice throughout the Challenge via our Facebook and Twitter pages. We will share our successes and our failures!
Last year’s Yates Junior Landcare Challenge attracted more than 5000 registrations and the annual competition is on again, with registrants receiving a free packet of seeds and photographing how their garden grows to be in the running for some great prizes—although entrants are able to get advice and share stories online—the winner will be chosen for the best story-telling on their growing journey.
This year the competition will again steer away from aiming for the biggest or best, with the focus of the Yates Junior Landcare Challenge – Winter Vegie Growing Journey to get kids’ hands dirty, learn how food grows and get into the garden in the cooler months- even if it’s to take a photo with their smartphone.
Honesty is important—as has been demonstrated by prizes awarded last year for tales of growing pains, such as the girl whose lettuce was eaten by “Kevin the Kangaroo” —but the top prize went to a seven-year-old girl who grew, and ate, big radishes with relish. This year prizes for both individual and group categories will again include an iPad mini as well as Junior Landcare, Yates and other garden goodies.
Yates gardening expert Angie Thomas says the move from growing the biggest or best to a more experiential approach was an attempt to encourage all young people to get into the garden and show how growing food is not only fun but also that it can be easy. “It is wonderful hearing about young people, including pre-schoolers, getting excited about the growing journey, learning that anyone can make things grow, and also to see so many children eat their vegies,” Angie says.
“We want to encourage people to learn about growing fresh, seasonal produce – which is the best and most nutritious way to eat – and learn that there are vegies, herbs and flowers to grow all year round, not just in spring.”
Landcare Australia CEO Tessa Jakszewicz says: “This program demonstrates the great interest that is out there from schools and young people wanting to connect with nature and find out more about where their food comes from—we hope to see 6000 or more registrations for this year’s Challenge.”
Like last year, there is a choice of seeds on offer: carrot, lettuce, radish, cauliflower, red onions and spinach. Participants can request their favourite vegie—but part of the fun lies in seeing what comes in the mail and getting your hands dirty. Monthly prizes will also be awarded for the best entries, to encourage participants to show their results at all stages of the journey. Resources will be included on the dedicated website, such as handy tips and fun games to build on the on-ground experience.
Contestants will be able to get advice and make changes where needed via the Yates Ask an Expert portal. The challenge is open to all children living in Australia, under 17 years old. People can enter as individuals, or as part of a family, school or community/youth group. Please note: packets of seeds for registrants are limited to two per household.
Registrations for the Yates Junior Landcare Challenge – Winter Vegie Growing Journey are open until 5th April 2015. Further information is available at www.juniorlandcarechallenge.com.au.