The Wrap Up…The inaugural East Hills District Schools Harvest Festival

I can’t believe its been a week since the festival.  Months of planning, sleepless nights and stress.  Why? Because it’s time.  Its time to bring together all the school gardens and veggie patches and create a collaborative event that brings the passionate gardeners, artists and creators together. School gardens are more than a veggie patch, they are hours spent by parents, kids and volunteers to create an outdoor space to be enjoyed by all.  Lifelong friendships are made in school gardens.

As I mentioned at the launch, “it starts with a teacher”. A teacher I had in primary school Mrs Georgene Edmunds commissioned a native garden at Picnic Point Primary that parents spent many months building and kids spent many months at school on weekends riding bikes and exploring their space out of regular hours and without restriction.  Those days are my earliest school memories…and when Mrs Edmunds had us dress up as pink elephants to perform at the East Hills Music Festival.  My Dad designed the garden and it was a source of pride for me and pride in our school.  The kids were given a plant each with their name to water and nurture…this was in the 80’s and my parents friendship group was formed from that project.  Such a happy time the 80s. 🙂

The art exhibited at the festival was amazing and the kids and teachers were thrilled with the prizes donated by the generous sponsors. The upcycled garden art was a hotly contested event and next year will be bigger and better.  The radish eating was hilarious with a teenage entrant stepping up to have a go! Who knew teenagers would be involved with a 50 cash prize on offer????   The pumpkin rolling was a hoot!  Jams, pickles, veggie creatures, bread, sourdough, kombucha brought local food back to the forefront of our kitchens for those few weeks.  A tremendous thanks to those that believe in local food and share the vision.

Time for thank you’s.  Thanks to Sheena & Sue of Suburban and Broula farms for the catering, emceeing, crafting and captaining of the games.  Thanks to the sponsors Condell Park Produce, Banksia Law, Maria Furnari-Travel Managers, Cultivate NSW, Fruity Sacks Picnic Point Bowling Club, Panania Diggers, Fitness Local Panania, Curves Panania, Burattinis and Bunnings Bankstown.  Thanks to friends and neighbours that are supporting the Panania Free Rangers in their work to “outgrow the status quo” in the hood!

Thanks to Sandra Palmer, Principal of Panania Public for allowing us to host the event. Pat Sherring and Taylor Farrell (teachers at Panania) who jumped straight on board. Linda Clutterbuck from East Hills Girls, Rebecca Mills from Revesby South and Omar Chahrouk of Belmore Boys.  #itstartswithateacher

We intend to run the festival annually to give kids a space to sell, promote and learn about sustainability outside the classroom in a market environment.

Check out the photos and the fun at

In the meantime, check out the Panania Free Rangers facebook page to find what we are up to next….maybe some local farm tours, maybe some workshops, maybe some markets selling produce and seedlings.

See ya soon,


Radish eating…he cried but what a great sport!




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