Costa’s Mernda mushroom farm is supporting its local community through developing relationships with primary schools in the City of Whittlesea. One of these schools is St Mary’s Primary School in Whittlesea, a semi-rural school situated on eight acres of land.
In April 2017, Bryan Ashworth Costa Mushroom Category National OHS Manager arranged for the mushroom farm to donate two truckloads (40 cubic metres) of mushroom compost for the preparation of soil for a new orchard to be planted in the school grounds.
The development of the orchard could not have been achieved without the assistance of a number of parents offering their help to weed and excavate the area ready for the mushroom compost to be added. In August, the students planted 20 fruit trees in the new orchard, which were which were sourced by a local grower who also offered planting advice. Within a year or two, the students will be able to harvest mandarins, oranges, lemons, limes, apples, pears, plums, nectarines and peaches.
Costa believes that working with schools to encourage exercise and healthy eating among their students and families is a practical way of changing the health of Australians for the better. And what better way than teaching children to grow their own food.