Seeds of hope

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22 May 2024

The inspiration for ‘Sustainable Food Tuesday’ – as part of Laudato Si’ Week – comes from Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical Laudato Si’:

[W]e know that approximately a third of all food produced is discarded, and ‘whenever food is thrown out it is as if it were stolen from the table of the poor’ (n. 50).

As part of the Circular Economy Program at St Monica’s College, Epping, students collect food scraps and freshly picked weeds to feed the school chickens, and sell eggs to staff.

students collecting food scraps and freshly picked weeds

This is one of the college’s co-curricular sustainability initiatives that have earned the team of 90 students recognition as a finalist in this year’s ResourceSmart Schools Awards Student Action Team of the Year – Secondary.

The student team also visits the school’s wetland on a weekly basis to conduct clean-ups, weeding, planting, aquatic pest removal and biodiversity audits. The students’ presentation at the Whittlesea Council environmental conference on their goal for enhancing biodiversity in the wetland was well received.

One student even programmed a Raspberry Pi computer to record bird sounds from the school’s wetland, contributing to Cornell University’s Lab of Ornithology collection.

recording bird sounds from the school’s wetland

St Monica’s College has also been recognised as a finalist for Curriculum Leadership School of the Year – Secondary for its Year 9 STEM program, in which students were encouraged to think about passive design, sustainable materials and thermal comfort when building a tiny house using laser cutters.

This year, Laudato Si’ Week runs from Sunday 19 to Sunday 26 May.

Winners of the 2024 ResourceSmart Schools Awards will be announced at an event on Tuesday 4 June.