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SHS Garden Journal Blog

Granville East PS wins Seed Harvest Spoon Grant

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Seed Harvest Spoon would like to thank the Payce Foundation for sponsoring the 2017 School Garden Grant Competition, and congratulate Granville East PS as the winning school. On Monday 27 November Granville East PS Community Warrior students were presented with certificates by NSW Minister for Education Rob Stokes in recognition of their work in producing the winning application. We look forward to collaborating with the Granville East community in 2018. Below is a story written by the Payce Foundation as featured on their website.

Granville East Public School will have its own edible school garden after winning the PAYCE Foundation sponsored Seed Harvest Spoon competition this year.

The grant winner was officially announced at the school today where students were presented with certificates by the NSW Minister for Education Rob Stokes.

PAYCE Foundation Director Dominic Sullivan said the students showed outstanding enthusiasm in its video submission.

“The school’s community warriors group demonstrated a passion for not only the opportunity to build their own edible garden, but also a superior understanding of environmental issues.”

As the winning school students will receive:

  • Materials and support to design and build an edible garden, including a waste management system.

  • An eight-week education program

  • An information program for teachers and parents

The students will learn how to grow local, seasonal and organic food, generate healthy environmental ecosystems and promote local biodiversity.

Students will also learn about creating compost and the life of bees.

At the end they will get to enjoy the produce they created.

“The PAYCE Foundation is committed to backing programs which build stronger communities and the Seed Harvest Spoon program has an excellent track record of not only delivering important education but also bringing communities together,” Mr Sullivan said.

”Our approach to urban development is not just bricks and mortar.”

“We want to develop long term relationships which deliver lasting social improvement.”

The Director of Seed Harvest Spoon, Michelle Carrick, made a presentation to the school on the grant program.

“Michelle is a great advocate for the program and its outstanding educational benefits for children and we are proud to back her vision,” Mr Sullivan said.


APPLY NOW - Early Childhood Professional Development Grant Funding

Sunday, October 15, 2017


NSW Department of Education are offering grant funding to eligible Early Childhood Services for Professional Development to enhance the delivery of quality education.

Grant applications are open from 16 October to 10 November 2017

For Information or to Apply Click Here

Enquire today about SHS incursions, audits and consultancy services as part of this funding opportunity!

Are you interested in practical, hands on, engaging programs to provide better connections to the natural world, increased knowledge of sustainable practices and environmental education?

SHS Professional Development Incursions Click Here or 

contact Michelle for more information

Pedagogical Tour 'Walking in Arrernte Land'

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Pedagogical Tour 'Walking in Arrernte Land'

Camp under the vast night sky and walk in the footsteps of our first nations people to visit significant sites and experience a deep listening of the land. 

Professional development sessions will be interwoven into the four days where local aboriginal people will share their knowledge and skills.

Join us as we learn about native bush foods for health, medicine and sustainability and excite your tastebuds with a sample of flavours from the land. 

Develop a cultural and historical perspective of earth care practiced by Aboriginal people for over 60,000 years.

This tour is for Early Childhood and Primary teachers who would like to deepen their appreciation of the land through mindful interaction, story telling, engagement and connection with country.  

To be sent a copy of the World Expeditions/SHS Tour Itinerary Click Here

Booking Information:

We are delighted to announce that we are now taking bookings for Seed Harvest Spoon’s Early Childhood Pedagogical Tour to the beautiful West McDonnell Ranges.

If you would like to join Seed Harvest Spoon next year please contact us via email Here and we will send you further information on how to secure your booking.

Dates of tour: 27 May to 1 June 2018 (inclusive) during Reconciliation Week

We will commence our tour 7:30am on Sunday 27th May. 

Day 1: 27 May

Day 2: 28 May

Day 3: 29 May

Day 4: 30 May

Note: Arrangements for 26 May and 1 June 2018 will be at your own discretion and are not included in the tour price. You may like to include a further few days before the tour or stay after to extend your trip and see other attractions in the Northern Territory.

Total individual price of the 'Walking in Arrernte Land' Pedagogical Tour - $1995 

Places will be secured by an initial deposit of: $500 

Full payment is required by: 5 February 2018 (we will issue an invoice) 

Capacity - limited to 16 places, places will fill fast

Please refer to the attached itinerary for details of the tour and contact us if you have further questions.

Note: Flights and accommodation (outside the tour) are to be organised by each delegate. We recommend iTravel Hurstville for all travel bookings contact Maria for details:

Cost does not include: accommodation in Alice Springs before and after the trip, airfares, airport transfers, travel insurance, items of a personal nature, backpacks, sleeping bag hire, alcoholic beverages and head torches or walking poles.  

For details on meals that are included and dietary requirements please see attached itinerary. 

Prior to the trip you will be asked to complete a form outlining your medical and dietary requirements.

Seed Harvest Spoon will organise a pre trip pedagogical information session in Sydney (for those outside Sydney we will offer a video call)

Work With Us

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Seed Harvest Spoon Are Recruiting

Join our team of educators!

Are you fun & energetic? Do you have a love of outdoor education and working with children? Then we would love to hear from you, send us your CV with details of your Early Childhood or Primary teaching qualification. Ideal applicants will have science teaching, permaculture and/or sustainability experience. Learn more about us at and send your application to us at  SHS - Recruitment 

Early Years Learning - In the Preschool Garden

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Over the past eight months Seed Harvest Spoon have been building knowledge alongside the children and educators at the 26 Sydney wide Only About Children campuses. 

The children are learning how they can contribute to caring for our earth by waste sorting to reduce what goes to landfill, recycling food scraps to create healthy soil, turning off taps and mindful water play to conserve water.

Over the last two months the children have been learning about where their food comes by planting and growing a range of seasonal vegetables in their garden. Engagement with soil, plants and the outdoors contributes to the overall health and wellbeing of every child.

Outcome 1: Children have a strong sense of identity.

Sharing the experience of growing food with peers and educators encourages a sense of belonging and responsibility. Planting a seed is a careful cognitive process, especially when understanding how deep to plant a carrot seed compared to a bean seed. Dexterity skills are developed when carefully picking up the tiny carrot seed and sowing it in the soil. At the end of the lesson all 30 seed pots are lined up the children look for their name label with pride and enthusiasm. 

Outcome 2: Children are connected with and contribute to their world.

Using a magnifying glass children explore up close a diversity of creatures that live in the soil under their feet. They are excited to discover different creatures, but worms are always a favourite! No matter how many worms children find each new discovery is celebrated with more joy than the last. Adding compost or nutrient rich vermicast to the soil keeps our newly planted seedlings healthy. Especially when food scraps from our kitchen have helped to create the natural fertiliser. Compost and vermicast help our veggies grow strong and provide our body with nutrients and minerals when we eat them freshly picked.

Outcome 3: Children have a strong sense of wellbeing.

Our plants thrive and grow by absorbing sunshine, so do we. Time spent outdoors is beneficial to our emotional and physical wellbeing. Involvement in gardening generates a sense of purpose, where soil under our fingernails is a healthy sign of connection to nature! Handling a delicate seed or seedling provides us with a tactile connection to life. Harvesting the lettuce, carrots, spinach and bok choy we grow in our preschool garden is a tasty nutrient rich bowl of goodness for our growing body.

Outcome 4: Children are confident and involved learners.

Children love to learn, as Seed Harvest Spoon become a familiar face at the many campuses we visit, the children confidently and enthusiastically greet us by asking “What are we learning today?” When we ask the children what we spoke about last time we visited, they eagerly respond with soil, worms, water, rubbish, recycling, turning off taps and more. When planting a seedling children are learning about the process and technique. They engage in learning by digging a hole in the soil with a trowel, carefully placing the seedling in the hole without disturbing the roots, covering the roots with soil for protection, giving a little water and placing some mulch around the soil to conserve water. Vocabulary expands by using correct terminology in the garden. Early skills in science develop as we observe the germination of a carrot seed. Experimentation and inquiry evolve though questioning - What happens if I plant my seed too deep? What if I forget to water my seed?

Outcome 5: Children are effective communicators.

In the garden we learn and create context by sharing stories, children talk eagerly about their home garden. Child’s voice: “My Dad grows chillies in our garden, he loves them, but I don’t, they're too hot for me!”  Using our imagination, body movement and storyboards helps us understand how a seed comes to life. We read a book with engaging images and rhyming words to finish off the lesson, its a fun way to reflect on what we have learnt. Labels help us to identify our individual seed pot and what we have planted, some of us are writing our own name and words, while others are great at spelling their name helping the teacher to write it for them.  We read the seed packet and discover it may take 14 days of watering and waiting for our seed to germinate. Teachers use their iPad as a tool for taking photos and documenting learning that we can use to recount our experience later. 

Children's seed pots lined up around garden bed ready to take home & below a carrot seed planted by a preschooler that has germinated.

Author: Michelle Carrick 
Seed Harvest Spoon Co-Founder & Program Director 
© 2016:Seed Harvest Spoon Education Foundation Ltd.


Commonwealth of Australia Department of Education, Employment & Workplace Relations (DEEWR) (2009). Belonging, being and becoming: Early years learning framework for Australia. Canberra: Commonwealth Department of Education, Employment & Workplace Relations.

Funding News

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

As a Not-for-Profit organisation Seed Harvest Spoon is dedicated to providing our clients a professional, high quality face-to-face education service. We believe in the power of grassroots education in supporting communities to thrive and work together for enhanced health and wellbeing. We are very grateful for the support given to us by our sponsors and funding partners. This recognition enables us to continue the valued work we do within communities. We delight in being able to observe the positive difference working alongside children and their family members make to feeling a sense of belonging and value as citizens in caring for earth and people health. 

Recently we have received the following funding to improve the service and projects we deliver to communities:

Lantern Club, Roselands - upgrade to Riverwood Public School garden - education in food security, healthy eating, food literacy and cooking.

City of Canada Bay - website upgrade (mobile responsive & Eco Store) - you can now have access to our website across all mobile devices and purchase some of our favourite resources through our Eco Store - take a look here.

Canada Bay Club - website upgrade (members area) - due to go live January 2017, further details will be announced later this year - watch this space. 

City of Canada Bay - Research & development of our Community Food Program - soon to be released.

Visit Our Partners page here to view all of our Funding Partners and Collaborators.

For regular up to date information on our projects, please follow us on Facebook.



My Permaculture Journey: change of life, change of perspective

Monday, July 11, 2016

The internet is full of people who know incredible amounts about their chosen subject matter. They can dissect every problem and have answers for any questions that come their way. Well here I am writing on a Permaculture blog and feel the need to let you know that I most probably know less than anyone reading this!

It can be a daunting prospect for anyone who dares to take on a new skill or hobby. It has been that way with my journey thus far. Over the next few months (and hopefully years) you will be able to see my progress as I delve into the world of Permaculture.

I decided to begin this journey when a few fundamental events changed my life and my perspective on the world. The first event was when I moved from a unit to a house. Finally, I could really get stuck into growing fruit and vegetables for myself and my family, without dragging the hose up the communal stairs or filling endless jugs of water to support my plants on the small balcony of my unit. 

The second push came when my daughter, Violet, started to explore the garden and showed the inquisitiveness that becomes infectious to all those around her. In return, I wanted to show her the amazing processes involved in growing your own food and developing your own environment.

The third event came with the passing of a close family member. This sad event was the final catalyst and made me re-evaluate my place on the earth and how I can best use the time I have.

With these three events came the impetus to learn Permaculture, but the greatest question was where to start. I had a few basic tools in the shed, some books on small space organics and some general knowledge gained from kicking about the garden with my parents when I was growing up - but my knowledge was limited. So I decided to enrol in a Permaculture course through Tafe and to throw myself into the deep end and start volunteering with Seed Harvest Spoon.

Just six months into my journey I can say, hand-on-heart, that it has been one of the best decisions I have made. It has been a steep but rewarding learning curve, and one that gives back in spades when effort is applied. 

One of the first things I tackled was WASTE! Crickey, a modern consumer produces a lot of waste! The buying and disposing of plastics and other materials seems to be unstoppable, but I found that with a small effort and some consideration of my purchasing decisions, I have been able to greatly reduce the waste that my household produces. From simple decisions such as being organised enough to take the canvas bags to the supermarket Tim Minchin Song to refusing to buy packaged fruit and veggies, the household waste bin has been getting easier to drag to the curb every week as its contents diminish. My goal is to be more like the Zero Waste Girl but every little bit helps. There is never a bad time to get started on reducing your waste. 

To read more about the link between Permaculture and waste and how to get children involved in reducing waste check out our earlier article here

Author: Andrew Messer
Seed Harvest Spoon Education Facilitator & Photographer
Copyright 2016: Seed Harvest Spoon Education Foundation Ltd.

World Environment Day: Go Wild!

Sunday, June 05, 2016

World Environment Day (WED) is celebrated widely, in over 100 countries, on 5 June each year. 

WED is a global platform for raising awareness and for taking action towards positive environmental outcomes. 

Go Wild for Life’ is this year’s WED theme. Here at Seed Harvest Spoon we have been thinking about this theme, from a slightly different angle, after receiving a little gem in our inbox this week.  

For Seed Harvest Spoon, this year’s WED theme is the perfect prompt to reflect on the importance for children to be in nature and have the chance to ‘go (just a little bit) wild’.

As a global day of awareness, WED presses us to think about the big environmental challenges. As adults we know the impact of global warming, loss of biodiversity, reduced habitat, and rising ocean temperatures. We understand why it is important that we take proactive steps to make a difference. For most of us, the impetus to take action is driven by a clear vision of what will be lost if we don’t.   

As children though, the experience is different. The world is something they are still learning about and as they learn they will develop their individual priorities and values based on the experiences they are exposed to. 

At Seed Harvest Spoon a priority for us, in inspiring a lifelong commitment to protecting our natural environment, is supporting children to discover a sense of wonder and awe about the natural world. In our workshops children play with soil, get their hands dirty, go searching for insects, plant a seed and watch it grow! 

They are, at least for a short time, immersed in nature. 

Our inspiration boost for this week (and for WED) was a quote from renowned and respected environmental champion, Bill McKibben. Both uplifting and timely it serves as a reminder on the importance of letting children ‘go wild’ and its lifelong impact. 

"...the goal is to get kids to fall in love with the world around them, and you don't really fall in love with a terminally ill planet…(we should help children) to understand what a beautiful place this world is. Once they figure that out, they will be its defenders."

We couldn’t agree more!

So with this in mind, let your kids ‘go wild’ this WED. Turn off the screens, take the kids outdoors, let them get their hands dirty and encourage them to find one thing in nature that makes them say “wow”.

You can read all about WED here and why they want us all to ‘Go Wild for Life’ this year here.

Author: Lisa Whatley
Seed Harvest Spoon Development & Grants Consultant
Copyright 2016: Seed Harvest Spoon Education Foundation Ltd.

Wonderful Water - Early Years Learing

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Seed harvest Spoon has been talking water with 3-5year olds at Early Childhood centres around Sydney this past month. These children understand how important water is to people and to our planet. When we put the question to them, “Is water important?” little hands shoot up and small voices shriek out “Yes!” 

In response to “Why is water important?” we are assured that people need to drink water every day, to keep healthy. Animals need water too (especially fish) and so do our plants. 

While we celebrate World Water Day during March, we are reminded that water really is a precious, limited resource that we need to think about daily. It is worth revisiting the statistic that of all the water on our beautiful blue planet, only 3% is freshwater, and of that only 1% is available as drinking water. This 1% is shared by the whole world. 

We really are fortunate in this country to have the luxury of clean fresh water at our fingertips, and it is something that we are all perhaps guilty of taking for granted. Travelling in other countries can really drive that message home, we find ourselves looking forward to getting home and not having to worry about buying or boiling our water. 

We can be more thoughtful with our usage in our day-to-day lives, and our preschoolers can lead the way. Don’t put off fixing that leaking tap! Put a timer in the shower, 3-4 minutes is ample time, any longer really is luxury. Think about pouring bathwater on the garden- this is a great one to do with the kids. Being mindful of water usage is a great start. 

Re-read “Tiddalik- the frog who caused a Flood.” We really don’t want to be the selfish frogs of the world.

Author: Natalie Er
Seed Harvest Spoon Education Leader
Copyright 2016: Seed Harvest Spoon Education Foundation Ltd.

Happy Earth Day 2016!

Friday, April 22, 2016


Today is Earth Day, an international day of awareness established 46 years ago today by the Earth Day Network. The aim of Earth Day is to highlight an ongoing movement to inspire, challenge ideas, ignite passion, and motivate people to action for environmental sustainability. 

At Seed Harvest Spoon we are all about that too!

The Earth Day Network’s Mission is to ‘Build the world’s largest environmental movement’. They invite all individuals to take action by contributing to a collective target of 3 billion acts of green.  

As an organisation, Seed Harvest Spoon has been busily committing to various ‘green acts’ for three years now, teaching children and their families how they can contribute too. 

Check out our some of our earlier stories and posts about what we’ve been doing to achieve these ‘acts of green’: 

You can find more and make your own ‘act of green’ pledge here

Author: Lisa Whatley
Seed Harvest Spoon Development & Grants Consultant
Copyright 2016: Seed Harvest Spoon Education Foundation Ltd.