Romsey Primary School students have a bad taste in their mouths after 60 kilograms of fruit was stolen from its kitchen garden over the March Labor Day weekend.
The garden had an orchard filled with red currants, plums, nectarines, pears and apples that students pick and cook with in home economics to help them learn the importance of ‘farm to table’ cooking.
A team of volunteers help maintain the orchard and allow students to harvest fruit for jams and other products over the winter months.
Kitchen garden volunteer Ellie Parker said she was looking forward to harvesting pears and apples for term two cooking sessions.
“We’re appalled that somebody has stolen the entire crop. The children now have no fruit to cook with,” Ms Parker said.
“The thieves have come in over the long weekend. They would have had to use a trailer and ladders to reach the fruit.”
School volunteer Kylie Grant said the incident seemed too organized for it to be eaten by animals.
“There is a lot of fruit – you can see it wasn’t the birds because there was nothing left on the ground,” she said.
Ms Parker is now calling for donations to help rebuild the orchard and fund a permanent position for the kitchen garden.
“We’re about to put in gravel, mulch and new raised garden beds plus rows of bay trees, olive trees, lemons and of course seasonal crops grown by and for the children,” Ms Parker said.
“It would be great if members of the community could donate to help these children rebuild their kitchen garden.”
For more information on how to donate and upcoming fundraiser events, please call Romsey Primary School on 5429 5099.