Kai Garden Competition

Our Kai Gardens Competition is a great way for tamariki aged 3-13 years to develop a greater understanding of the natural world and to gain hands-on experience building a small kai or rongoā garden for their school.

Design entries are for this year’s Kai Garden Competition are now open.

Kai Gardens is a fun and educational competition that is open to all New Zealand ECEs, kindergartens, primary and intermediate schools. Students are given the opportunity to collaborate and design a garden that features edible and/or medicinal plants, and which is constructed using sustainable and reclaimed materials.

This is a great way for tamariki to learn how easy it is to reduce their environmental footprint by growing their own food, cooking seasonally and composting food and garden waste.

Once established, students are encouraged to share their learnings and achievements by harvesting, preparing and sharing the produce from their garden with the wider school community and their whānau.

The garden can be any shape and be situated anywhere in the school — indoors or outdoors. It can be a new garden, or an enhancement to an old one; an individual class project or one the whole school contributes to.

Ten winning schools will each receive $500 to put towards building and planting a garden, with a further $500 on completion to put towards its ongoing care.

Entries are open until 11.59pm on Thursday 15 June 2023, and winners will be announced on Tuesday 27 June 2023.

Check out this example of a Kai Garden Competition 2022 winning submission.

New Kai Garden Classroom Activity Resources for teachers

This year we’re excited to be able to offer schools and teachers who register for the Kai Garden Competition access to our NEW Kai Garden lesson plans, classroom resources and curriculum links. 

These lessons have been designed to turn your Kai Garden design project into a full unit of work, without any extra lesson planning required by you!

As a full until of work, the plans and competition provide young people with a deeper understanding of:

  • Why it is good for both them and the planet to plant a Kai Garden.
  • What they need to know and understand to create a Kai Garden.
  • Changes they can make at home to ensure a more sustainable future for our planet.

The lessons suit students 5–13-years-old and can be adapted to suit a range of year levels and abilities.

The six lessons create a full unit of work, however they are also designed to be used as singular lessons, so you can pick and choose which are most appropriate to facilitate with your students. The lessons all have accompanying  PowerPoint slides and there is a handy teacher’s guide to let you know what each lesson entails and what resources you will need. 

Access the Kai Garden lesson plans, classroom resources and curriculum links here. 

We will be hosting two Kai Garden information webinars open for anyone to join and find out more about the competition and the accompanying classroom activity resources. To register please click the date you would like to attend below. 

Reasons to get involved:

As well as getting a nutritious garden from which to harvest, students will also benefit through:

  • Academic achievement. A school garden provides hands-on learning across many academic subjects.
  • Health and well-being. The pride and curiosity sparked by building a healthy edible garden can serve students the rest of their lives.
  • Environmental kaitiakitanga. Students become responsible caretakers, exploring stewardship and a circular economy, and establishing a connection with nature.
  • Cultural connection. Students learn about the beliefs and customs of other cultures, and can connect with whānau and the community through gardening, harvesting and sharing their produce.

Enter the Kai Garden Competition