Newling Public School, NSW

Completed March 2022

Newling Public School in Armidale, NSW was implemented in the first quarter of 2022 in a regional community about 6hrs North of Sydney. Wilmot Public School caters for students from Kindergarten to Year 6, with 128 students, 65% of which are Indigenous Australians and 4% have a language background other than English. 

This project saw the students taking an active role in all areas of construction of the greenhouse and hydroponic growing system. The greenhouse is supported by their pre-existing cooking classes, Breakfast Club – offering free healthy breakfasts – chicken coops and a new outdoor kitchen. The Greenhouse and a cooking program will be a class elective option going forward in addition to weekly visits with each year group. 

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, engraining healthy eating habits in Primary School. This is extremely important for Newling Public School as only 36% of parents were in gainful employment in the last two years, only 3% completing education past Year 10, reinforcing the intergenerational welfare cycle existing in Armidale. 

Progress since completion

Since the greenhouse’s completion in March 2022, Newling Public School have had 3 successful harvests. The whole primary school regularly engages with the greenhouse with 45 Year 5 and 6 students visiting twice a week, taking on the primary responsibility for the greenhouse, its maintenance, harvesting and cooking of the produce.

The greenhouse, in tandem with Newling’s pre-existing kitchen garden program, outdoor farm and kitchen, have been extremely successful in educating the students on the entire paddock to plate process. The students have grown a great variety of vegetables, include leafy greens, celery, cherry tomatoes, broccoli and purple cabbage.

Each term the harvested produce is eaten by students and used in cooking classes as well as sold to parents and family members. In term 3 the Year 5 and 6 students sold 20 heads of lettuce for $3 each!

We look forward to another successful term ahead for Newling Public School.

Food Ladder acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which this greenhouse is built, the Anaiwan and Kamilaroi peoples. We celebrate the diversity of Aboriginal peoples and their ongoing cultures and connections to the lands and waters of New South Wales.  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.