Belmont City College students collect the fruits of their labour

Kayla Johnson, Ben Tompsett, Mitchell Swinbourn and Holly Pitham.
Kayla Johnson, Ben Tompsett, Mitchell Swinbourn and Holly Pitham.

THE fruits of Belmont City College students’ labour have paid off, with their brand new food forest set to thrive.

The Inclusive Education Centre students planted, seeded, and built their own garden beds for the entire 1700sq m space near Abernethy Road.

Teacher Melissa Gray runs the horticultural program at the school, and has been the driving force behind the food forest, a project two years in the making.

“We wanted to change the piece of land into something useable, so we decided to do something about it,” Ms Gray said.

“We run several gardens but didn’t really have anywhere we could put fruit trees in. This was a place we could grow big fruit trees.”

The College’s Inclusive Education Centre runs from Years 7 to 12, catering for students with a range of disabilities with some classes held in the Centre and other lessons integrated with the rest of the College.

Ms Gray said the majority of students in the Certificate I and II Horticulture program thrive being outside and getting hands on with projects.

“The kids came up with the plan, they designed it all, they found all of the equipment and recycled it all from school,” she said.

“Down in the garden we’ve a cherry tree, mangoes, nectarines, plums, apples, a whole range of vegetables, and the second half is a bush tucker garden with native species from WA and all over Australia.”

Year 1 student Holly Pitham said she enjoyed every bit of the process.

“We’ve built everything from scratch, with donated stuff and recycled materials, and a lot of people have helped us out,” she said.

“Some days I was in leadership roles, other days it was other people in leadership roles, it’s been a bit of both. We had so much fun. It’s something I want to show my kids and my grandkids.”

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