Finch Farm was built and is maintained by the John Paul College family to allow us to enjoy even greater community spirit.
From its humble beginnings in November 2011, it is now an engaging extension to our classroom learning environment and a wonderful place to join in a working bee on a weekend.
The timeline began in November 2011 when the proof of concept was ratified by the Headmaster and the Board.
In April 2012, heavy equipment arrived to contour, shape and fill the farm site.
In May, the working bees began with a call to the community for support to turf and mulch the area to add stability to the contoured terraces. At this first working bee, around 30 workers swarmed over Finch Farm – mulching gardens, watering established plants, laying turf and adding a further 300 trees to the Koala Food Plantation.
By June, the team of hard working volunteers had raked, hoed, dug, filled, chopped, stomped, built, levelled, painted, barrowed and planted their way to a working farm.
The construction began in earnest in July with volunteers creating garden beds and chicken houses. Fruit trees were planted to establish the orchard. At our second working bee, around 80 volunteers swarmed around spending an amazing Saturday afternoon on the farm.
Led by the Middle and Senior School students from the Environment Council, parents, students and staff constructed the chicken run which houses around 20 chooks, painted the fence, established the fruit orchard, planted the koala food plantation, topped up and prepared the garden beds and created the irrigation channels. The children were unstoppable in their commitment to getting the 300 trees in place.
It was a production line process with holes dug, fertilizer pellets added, tree selected, rich soil piled in, seedling staked and clamped.
When it was finally time to down tools as the light was fading – the bonfire burst into life and provided the backdrop for a well-earned BBQ.
In August sustainable living was the focus of the Year 4 camp and a willing band of students planted up the first of the garden beds.
September saw Stage Two of the koala food plantation established and a crop of beans and lettuce was harvested from the garden beds. The Year 2 students experimented with planting their own watermelons.
The first staff meeting was hosted on Finch Farm in October to give teachers some insights into how the activity of the farm provides support for classroom practice.
It is always great to see so many families working together and to see our JPC family coming together for the fun of our children.
During 2013, livestock, including goats, ducks, chickens, cows, sheep and llamas will be introduced to the farm – all nurtured and cared for by a newly formed co-curricular group.
Community spirit has been ignited as our farm goes from strength to strength!