Alekarenge School, NT

Completed March 2021

Alekarenge School in the Ali Curung Community was implemented in the first quarter of 2021 in a small remote Indigenous community about 3hrs north of Alice Springs. Alekarenge School caters for 112 students from Kindergarten to Year 12. Alekarenge is a very remote school with 100 per cent Indigenous students, 99 per cent of who have a language background other than English. The school has newly introduced a senior program based on food production and farming.

This greenhouse project saw the students taking an active role in all areas of construction of the greenhouse and hydroponic growing system. With the Centrefarms Ali Curung WEPP training farm progressing with plans for hydroponic seedling and leafy green production, and future hydroponic agricultural development in the region, the Food Ladder School Greenhouse System creates early employment pathways for students as well as educating students about food production, healthy eating, and social enterprise.

Progress since completion

Since the greenhouse’s completion in March 2021, Alekarenge School have had 6 successful harvests. The Year 5 and 6 students have taken on the primary responsibility for the greenhouse, its maintenance, harvesting and cooking of the produce, with weekly class visits.

The greenhouse, in tandem with Alekarenge’s pre-existing kitchen garden program and outdoor farm, have been extremely successful in educating the students on the entire paddock to plate process. The students have focused on growing leafy greens, specifically lettuces, basil, beans and choy.  

Each term the harvested produce is eaten by students and used in cooking classes as well as utilised in the school canteen for healthy lunches. Additionally, produce has been donated to the local community, families in need, the child care centre and health clinic, via the school bus.

We look forward to another successful term ahead for Alekarenge School.

Food Ladder acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which this greenhouse is built, the Kaytetye and Warlpiri peoples in the Ali Curung community. We celebrate the diversity of Aboriginal peoples and their ongoing cultures and connections to the lands and waters of the Northern Territory.  We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging and acknowledge the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people that contributed to the development of this resource.