Wicking beds are making gardening at schools easier and more fun!
School gardens are great teaching tools. They are a hands on learning platform for students to explore sustainability, ecology, biology, agriculture, maths and much more. School gardens allow for different learning styles and types of intelligence to flourish and the more a child knows about how food is grown, the more inclined they are to make healthy and sustainable food choices. School gardens have also been shown to discourage students away from graffiti and vandalism as they foster a greater sense of ownership and respect towards space.
So there’s no question, school gardens are great! But there's a catch. For school gardens to thrive they require lots a time for installation and ongoing maintenance. They need dedicated staff members and they often use a lot of water. At Biofilta, we want to give teachers a leg up. We’ve designed the Foodcube to make growing veggies at schools easier, more time efficient and more fun!
The Foodcube is an innovative wicking garden bed with 1 square metre of growing space. It is self-watering and it holds 110L of water in its base. That’s enough to keep a school garden watered for over a week at the height of summer and over a month in the winter. Each Foodcube can be connected at the base so you can water multiple wicking beds from a single point. Bottom watering also reduces germination of weed seeds in your garden by creating a dry crust on the surface of the soil. In short, you can grow more food and spend less time doing it. The Foodcube is also customisable so you don’t have to faff around building your own trellising structures and netting systems to keep the birds and possums out. Installation is super fast and can be done by anyone with simple tools.
Biofilta is now installing Foodcubes in schools across Victoria like Athol Road Primary School and Carey Baptist Grammar. Brian Hunter, the environmental studies teacher at Athol Road Primary School installed some of Biofilta's earlier wicking bed models in 2018 and was so happy with the results that he decided to install some Foodcubes as soon as they were released in 2019.
Brian explained that... “the benefit of the Biofilta system is its going to be a lot more low maintenance than the rest of our garden....over the school holidays we can keep growing produce and not have to worry about coming in to water by hand"
Like many of us, Brian is concerned that children are losing contact with the environment and ecological processes. He is committed to teaching his students the importance of growing food.
“I think a lot of kids these days are disconnected from gardens and they just see fruit and vegetables coming from supermarkets wrapped in plastic...I wanted to reconnect them back to where it's actually coming from”.
With the help of Biofilta's wicking beds, teachers like Brian can spend less time taking care of the garden and more time teaching!