By Hayley Mais
A Perth primary school is taking a stand against waste with the help of a humble food truck owner.
Dave O runs The Spunky Spud – a sustainable food truck that composts, reuses, or recycles its packaging through the Spunky Spud community garden.
He also works very closely with staff and students at Neerigen Brook Primary school on what’s become known as “The 3 R’s Garden: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.”
“The idea was that I am incredibly prosperous being a white male in Australia, and I have a responsibility to share my resources,” said Dave.
Lesley Barrett, Principal at Neerigen Brook primary school, met Dave at his community garden in St James and asked him to do something similar at the school.
Students are encouraged to get involved with the garden during class and at lunch time.
Among a number of tasks, they get the opportunity to plant seeds and seedlings, mix compost, peg carpets to the ground as a chemical-free way of killing weeds.
“It’s also about encouragement. It’s all about catching people doing something right and making a big thing about it. And the garden’s an extension of that,” said Dave.
Not only does the garden teach students about ways to be sustainable, Dave says it’s also a way to help students be better versions of themselves.
Barrett has noticed a dramatic change in her students’ behaviour since the garden started.
“Ever since we have had it open, we haven’t had one negative behavioural incident… with the senior students,” she said.
Students who used to have issues during the lunch period have now elected to work together with their seed boxes.
“It’s been interesting. We haven’t put them together. They have actually come together to do something productive,” said Barrett.
All the students are extremely proud of their garden and Dave hopes that because of it, they’ll be able to look back on school and remember it as a good place.