Ten-year-old Freddie Meere has dug his way to a top spot at the inaugural T&G Garden to Table Young Gardener Awards.
The Te Huruhi School youngster beat out over 70 applicants from across the country to take home one of five gardening prize packs worth $500.
The awards, run by charitable trust Garden to Table, opened in August and aim to connect children with nature and their food supply to promote sustainable, healthy eating habits.
Te Huruhi joined the trust to take part after principal Adam Cels was introduced to the programme by a staff member and parent.
He says it was a bit of a surprise when they learned of Freddie’s success and he’s done very well to be awarded one of the main prizes.
The children learnt about the whole food cycle, from growing, to cooking and composting.
Freddie says he’s learnt a lot about gardening and was intrigued by how much fun it was.
“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.”
Freddie says the hardest part of gardening is pulling out the roots, but he hasn’t come across anything he doesn’t like, though he has learnt to wear gloves to avoid cut fingers.
His proudest moment was pulling out a giant root with a fork: “It took three people to carry it to the compost pile. All the roots and other weeds we pulled out have turned into really nice compost.”
The awards were judged by gardening journalist and broadcaster, Lynda Hallinan, acclaimed chef and restaurateur, Al Brown, executive officer at Garden to Table, Linda Taylor, and executive general manager of NZ Produce at T&G Global, Andrew Keaney.
Visit younggardenerawards.co.nz for more information. •