Dyatmika School: Education for a better world

Dyatmika School embraces the principles of permaculture to build their very own Community Garden

Dyatmika’s Charter emphasises that students will succeed academically; grow as well rounded individuals; develop positive values and civic responsibility; show respect for others and the natural environment and preserve traditional elements of Balinese culture. In a world facing ecological challenges we seek to provide our students with the expertise to live a more sustainable lifestyle and become leaders who can assist others to do the same.

It is to this end that Dyatmika School is creating a Community Garden. In simple terms, the garden is a space for the school community to grow a huge range of vegetables, herbs and fruits. But more than this we strive to draw on the millennia old Balinese expertise of working with the land to provide sustenance and health. Giving students an understanding of how food goes from the fork of the field to the fork of the dining table will help us to nurture students who are more aware of the world in which they live.

The Community Garden is aptly named as we have sought partnerships and experience from the whole school community. Teachers and students have been involved but we have also employed local gardeners to work with us, reached out to the parent body to harness their vast and varied skills and have worked with IDEP and PlanBee. We have also consulted with the Temesi facility who have provided us with state-of-the-art soil testing to ensure our soil is of the highest quality.

We were lucky enough to receive the benefit of IDEP’s expertise when they recently ran a training day on the basic principles of permaculture. A permaculture garden differs from a conventional garden in a number of ways. It teaches that through observation over time the land should inform how the garden is created. The gardener should draw on the resources available locally, produce minimal waste and harness the complementary nature of different crops. The intention is to create a good harvest, but not at the expense of the land or its people. During this training students, staff, parents and gardeners also learnt valuable skills such as seed saving and natural pest management. IDEP’s philosophy, the tenants of permaculture and the values of Dyatmika are well matched and this has generated an exciting and ambitious plan.

PlanBee has provided our garden with ten bees hives and training about how to maintain the Trigona stingless bees. This will provide a safe but exciting opportunity for students to explore this vital component of our ecosystem, as well as producing lots of delicious honey and the potential to learn how to create many honey based items.

As well as the more holistic educational benefits, the Community Garden also provides our students with some very specific opportunities to complement and enrich their curriculum based learning. Examples include our Primary students exploring insect life through their mini-beasts project, our Art students drawing inspiration for their unit on ‘decay’ and even the concept of growth rates in Mathematics using sunflowers. Bali is an island of entrepreneurship and our Business students are a buzz with ideas. Our recycling centre will provide opportunities for upcycling and plans are well underway for our very own range of local honey and food based products. The opportunities for students to bring the real world into the classroom and vice versa will help to create memorable learning experiences.

The Dyatmika Community Garden is still in its infancy, and as with all good things, we must wait to see the fruits of our labour. We are very excited by the prospect and hope that we can broaden our community even further within Bali and beyond. If you would like to be part of this journey then please get in touch with us. The bigger the community, the greater the rewards for us all.

John Connolly

Community Garden Coordinator / Business Studies Teacher

www.dyatmika.org   info@dyatmika.org

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