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Organic garden blooms at Rego

ON June 4, Shanghai Rego International School opened an organic garden on its primary campus which was sponsored by Austen Morris Associates.

The garden has been developed from an idea in 2009, to a fully fledged vegetable producing organic garden.

The difference with this garden is that rather than it being a teacher's idea and a teacher's work, or another employee of the school, the garden at Rego is the result of teacher guidance and pupils' hard work together.

The official opening ceremony, with tape cut by student council representatives Anthony and Natsuki, school Principal Richard Naylor and Panicko Lawrence, the senior partner at Austen Morris, was witnessed by all the students and staff of Rego's primary campus.

More than 150 green and blue balloons filled the southern Shanghai sky at the end of the afternoon, which included a presentation of Rego grown lettuces to Mr Lawrence.

The significance of this event is not just in the eco-friendly work which has been done by the students and fostered by Gary Ilines, "chief gardener" and year-six teacher. It is also the fact that students do not need to be entertained by screens and noises from machines. The peaceful sunny afternoon was not controlled by "start" buttons or files and printers.

It is refreshing and worthwhile in itself to emphasize the healthy nature not just of the vegetables produced, but of the friendly communal feeling at Rego.

The togetherness of hard work, with hands not minds, brawn not brains, in the fresh air is surely far better than anything the 21st-century modern laptop age can offer.

The impetus to begin is one challenge all individuals have and this is overcome easier when working in a group with a common goal. The challenge now for Rego is to sustain and to "grow" its garden, which is flourishing, both in terms of vegetables, and in the excellent and diligent character of its pupils. Plans are afoot for further developments in the primary and secondary campuses.


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