One of the things we love about Garden to Table is the sense of community it fosters. We think there are lots of synergies with the hospitality industry in particular so we joined forces with Meadowbank Primary School earlier this year to try a few things out.
We threw on our gumboots and joined the kids to plant a stretch of Rhubarb destined for the Depot kitchen. The fact that what they were growing was going to end up in a ‘real life’ restaurant created such a buzz, something that we probably take for granted a little bit. I was also pleasantly surprised by how much my team loved getting their hands dirty!
We’ve since had chefs helping the kids out with some killer pasta dishes in the kitchen, whilst sampling their way through the extensive array of produce, cultivated by Wendy - the school’s garden specialist, a bunch of amazing volunteers and different classrooms over the years. Everyone who has visited the school has just been blown away by the extent of the gardens and what the kids produce in the kitchen - if not a little despondent that they didn’t have access to this kind of thing in their day!
Last week the kids carefully harvested the first of the rhubarb crop. We couldn’t believe the size and colour of of it - my garden clearly needs more ‘worm tea’! We’re adding the rhubarb to a Passionfruit Panna Cotta and finishing it off with whipped cream and a glass cookie. You can try this for yourself at Depot through to the end of December with proceeds going back to the kitchen and gardens at Meadowbank School.
We’ve loved being involved with Garden to Table this year and creating a network with Meadowbank Primary has been win-win. Massive shout out to Bob, a regular volunteer who has been collecting coffee grinds from Depot and Best Ugly on a weekly basis to help nourish the gardens.
There are lots of ways to get involved and lots of schools that would love to partner with restaurants / chefs or other businesses in their community. A partnership could take all sorts of forms be it a similar project to Depot, or sending a team from the restaurant t the restaurant to volunteer at GTT sessions once a term (coffee grounds & compost in tow!) – helping in the garden or demonstrating a recipe and helping in the kitchen.
Schools currently participating in the Garden To Table programme are listed here. If you’re interested in talking about the possibilities of linking up with a school in your neighbourhood get in touch with the GTT team.