The T&G Garden to Table Young Gardener of the Year Awards will run again next year, so keep your eyes out and keep those green fingers gardening!

We received nearly 70 applications from primary schools and keen young gardeners aged between 7 and 11 years from all over New Zealand.

The awards were judged by well-known New Zealand gardening journalist and broadcaster, Lynda Hallinan; acclaimed New Zealand chef and restauranteur, Al Brown; executive officer at Garden to Table, Linda Taylor and executive general manager of NZ Produce at T&G Global, Andrew Keaney.

And after much digging, here are the winners of the 2017 T&G Garden to Table Young Gardener of the Year Awards.

Emma Walsh, age 7, from North Loburn School, North Canterbury (click here to read Emma’s full application and view images)
Emma is a special needs student who has 4p Syndrome and very limited speech. Her application was written by her mother. Emma’s mum, says: “Gardening for Emma, is a source of wonder, connection with others, peace, calm and pride. It allows her to find success without the challenges of speech, written language and mathematics found in the classroom.”

Qwincey Mennell, age 10, from Dominion Road School, West Auckland (click here to read Qwincey’s full application and view images)
Qwincey says: “My favourite thing about gardening is learning to grow fruits, vegetables and trees. Without these we wouldn’t be able to live! It’s a good skill to know how to grow your own food instead of buying it. I also love spending time outside and getting muddy.”

John Lundy, age 7, from North Loburn School, North Canterbury (click here to read John’s full application and view images)
John says: “I get to garden at school and at home. I take pride in our school gardens and use what we grow to cook with in our Garden to Table cooking classes. I gained a knife license at school to chop up the vegetables that we grow.”

Maima Ieru, age 10, from Cannons Creek Primary, Lower Hutt, Wellington Canterbury (click here to read Maima’s full application and view images)
Maima says: “I love everything about gardening. I love propagating. Last year, we took cuttings with our garden teacher and grew Chinese lantern plants. I love planting things too. This year I helped plant an apricot tree. I have never eaten an apricot from a tree so I am excited to one day eat one.”

Freddie Meere, age 10, from Te Huruhi School, Waiheke, Auckland (click here to read Freddie’s full application and view images)
Freddie says: “I’ve learnt a lot about gardening and am intrigued by how fun it is. But my favourite part is eating! In the garden, it’s a nice peaceful space and I like looking at the plants and smelling the lavender. My proudest gardening moment is when I pulled out a big big root with a fork. It took three people to carry it to the compost pile.”

Taking out the 2017 T&G Garden to Table School of the Year Award, is:

Haumoana School, Hastings, Hawke’s Bay (click here to read Haumoana’s full application)

Teacher, Jon Lovell, says: “The children absolutely thrive on the opportunities provided by the Garden to Table programme. Be-it in the kitchen or garden, they are totally engaged and thoroughly enjoy the opportunity for ‘hands on’ real life learning. The garden has become a real focal point for the children as they proudly share their learnings with their parents, siblings and school mates. Many of the children have been the driving force in planting gardens at home, based on the enthusiasm they have gained with the school garden. Many of the children (7-8 years old) also now cook on a regular basis for their families.”

Diamond Harbour School in Banks Peninsula, Canterbury, was awarded second place and Forrest Hill School on the North Shore in Auckland, was awarded third place.

This is the first year the awards have taken place and all of the judges were blown away by the standard of applications received! It’s fantastic to see such enthusiasm for getting outside, being active and learning key skills that will see them through life. Congratulations to all of our winners and thanks to all of our passionate Garden to Table teachers and gardeners for their support!