Walkamin State School reaps the fruits of Costa labour

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Costa’s avocado, banana and berry teams have joined forces to build new vegetable gardens at the Walkamin State School on the Atherton Tablelands, in addition to providing fresh fruit for the school’s morning breakfast club.

Organiser Kylie Stonehouse, from Costa Bananas, said it was great to be involved in such an important community project.

“Walkamin is a small country school and it was great to get in there and help out. We put in 11 new gardens and an irrigation system,” Kylie said.

“The school uses the vegetables for cooking on site. Every Friday different grades do cooking classes from the garden on ‘Fun Friday’. This teaches the children healthy eating and good food habits through the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden program,” Kylie said.

“With the expertise of our growers and horticulturists we are delighted to be able to help improve the garden.”

Kylie said the team was also providing fresh fruit for the school’s breakfast club and Costa volunteers were recently at the school serving up banana pancakes.

School principal Mr Ric Baruksopulo welcomed the support from the Costa team.

“We are a small school of 55 kids and three teachers. We have been working on a vege garden for a long time, but there’s not enough people to keep it going,” Ric said.

“Last year we didn’t have a big enough variety of food, but now with the help from Costa we have raised garden beds and irrigation and we’ll be able to grow a lot more things. We take the food and teach the kids about healthy eating — it’s a good community project.”

Ric said a team of 35 people from Costa had come in to redo the gardens and that would be followed by a working bee involving the parents and students.

“It’s all about teaching healthy lifestyle choices and any time we can work with local farms is great.”

Donations were also received from business and individuals including Dairy Famers, James and Sari Geraghty, MSF Sugar, Atherton Council and Yuruga Nursery.

Costa is Australia’s leading grower, packer and marketer of fresh fruit and vegetables. Operations include approximately 4500 planted hectares of farmland, 30 hectares of glasshouse facilities and seven mushroom growing facilities. On the Atherton Tablelands, Costa operates three berry farms at Walkamin, Tolga and Rangeview, six avocado farms and two banana farms in the Atherton and Walkamin regions.