Gardening, fresh produce, panania free rangers
The Panania Free Rangers is a not-for-profit organisation launched in 2016, to encourage a healthier and more sustainable way of living. Inspired by the ‘guerrilla gardening’ phenomenon a few years ago, the group is the brainchild of Jacquie Dredge and Anna Schlunke, who have been working hard to turn nature strips into edible gardens, to increase access to fresh local produce.
In 2017, Bankstown Sports proudly supported the Panania Free Rangers with an $8,000 fuunding contribution under the ClubGRANTS scheme, which has helped them take their gardening skills into some local schools.
They are currently working with East Hills Girls Tech High School to build a canteen kitchen garden, where they have planted Lebanese eggplant, tomatoes, mini cos lettuce, butternut pumpkin, artichokes, beetroot, snake beans, scarlet runner beans and lemon verbena for herbal teas. Their goal is to create a fully functioning edible garden which can provide fresh produce to the canteen and hospitality students.
The program has been so successful and is enjoyed by so many students, it is now an option under the school’s sport program and is available to all students. The school is also looking at bringing in volunteers from Revesby Uniting Church to assist with garden maintenance.
The Panania Free Rangers is in talks with a number of other schools about setting up sustainable gardens, and Co-Director Jacquie Dredge says the support of Bankstown Sports has enabled their small organisation to thrive.
“Bankstown Sports has allowed us to bring our passion for growing food and sustainable living to school life. We simply could not have done the work we have without the club’s contribution. It gave us a renewed sense of enthusiasm, knowing that other organisations are supportive of our work. This support has allowed us to bring experiences to the children that would not have been otherwise available to them”.
Jacquie says observation is the number one tip to successfully growing an edible garden.
“You need to be out in the garden observing what your plants are doing during the season so you can monitor water, plant health and pests. Understand that working organically takes time, patience and a couple of seasons to build the soil health to produce quality food. There is no ‘set and forget’ garden or system. It all takes work. Most importantly though, is to NEVER GIVE UP”.