Margaret River farm school impresses

A group of passionate foodies including local producers and international film director Thomas Torelli last week visited the Margaret River SHS farm to see for themselves the work that is involved in giving young locals the skills and information for a healthy and sustainable future.

Guided by language studies teacher and international relationships coordinator Angela McCoy, the group, including Margaret River Tempeh owner Tim Berekachvili, toured the school facilities and were impressed with the level of education available to young people.

“It’s great for kids to understand everything they can about where their food comes from, how it is grown and also what food grows best in this area,” said Mr Berekachvili.

An honesty box at the farm gate allows teachers, students and staff to purchase school-grown produce, with pumpkins and tomatoes piled high at the produce stand during the group’s visit. 

Mr Torelli, who was in town to promote the screenings of his docu-film, Food ReLOVution, was impressed by the school’s farming space, overseen by Farm School teacher Bel Howse and boasting a diverse range of fruits and vegetables as well as cattle, sheep, chickens and a plantation of grape vines. 

Ms Howse said students were keen to learn and classes were consistently full of local kids wanting to take part in the course.

MRSHS teacher Angela McCoy at the farm school facilities, where vegetables and fruits grow in abundance under the care of students.

MRSHS teacher Angela McCoy at the farm school facilities, where vegetables and fruits grow in abundance under the care of students.

“They are absolutely passionate about it, and the skills the students learn can take them far into the field if they wish,” she said. “As well as the hands on aspect of the courses, students are also educated on seasonality, soil quality, animal husbandry and the workings of the agricultural industry.

“They can even learn to muster sheep and how to use farm vehicles to control animals in herds.”

MRSHS Deputy Principal Merv McKillop said it was vital that the school foster a responsible attitude to food production.

“Not only do they enjoy learning about the subject and getting out there, getting their hands dirty and having a lot of fun, we are developing a generation of people who will understand the basics of sustainable food, the impact of food production on the environment and the importance of agriculture in their own backyards.”