2014/2015 Grant Recipients
Tucked away on the outskirts of urban Papamoa is a small farm-let that is home to Kevin Powell, a primary teacher and Jane Powell, gardening guru. From there they operate their charity Teacher in the Paddock.
Kevin and Jane were concerned about the abundance of packaged, nutrient-lacking foods being consumed in the modern diet and the negative health and social implications of this. “There seemed to be no connection for kids between their food and where it comes from and how it affects them” Kevin says, “and we saw a need and an opportunity there.” And so, Teacher in the Paddock was birthed from their desire to be a part of fostering that reconnection.
Their vision was to provide a living, 'hands-on' classroom for adults and children to experience the simplicity of good nutrition and a sustainable lifestyle. A living place that connects communities to healthier, holistic ways of being.
With the support of Toi Toi Manawa their vision was able to become a reality and in June 2014 Kevin and Jane began hosting visits from school and pre-school groups. They provide an interactive learning experience where children, parents and educators can experience the wonder of milking their house cows, feed chickens and learn about composting, worm farming, growing food and the importance of healthy eating.
When parents expressed an interest in a School Holiday Program it seemed a natural expansion to what they already do. They now also offer an After School Care Program where children can be children with nature, their farm and family life. There is the opportunity for horse riding, interaction with the animals, gardening and food production. “The emphasis is on having fun and learning at the same time.” Kevin says.
In addition to their programs for children, Kevin and Jane also host adult workshops on cheese-making and nutrition dense foods including sauerkraut, probiotic drinks, yoghurts, fermented vegetables, and organic beef dripping.
Their first year is going extremely well. “We are working toward a sustainable model that can be scaled up and out. A template that others could use. The support from Toi Toi Manawa has been invaluable, not only financially but also their guidance, encouragement, access to their networks and to advisors. All of that has contributed to the growth of the business and to us personally.”
For more information about the work that Kevin and Jane do at Teacher in the Paddock, you can follow them on Facebook, or contact them via their website. You can also view this short clip where they talk about their program and positive impact that receiving the grant has had on their business.