Liz Drummond discovered Garden to Table through the One Percent Collective in 2014 and has become a valued member of the Garden to Table community as both a volunteer and Seed Funder - part of Garden to Table's family of regular donors. Here is her story:
"I volunteer at Cardinal McKeefry School in Wilton. I am general minion to our 'Garden Guy' John McCrystal, we tag team between each other doing our
best to get at least some of the 'to-do' list each week done. Typically, with guidance from Bridget (class teacher) to keep things under control.
It has always been important to me to 'give back'; I know I am incredibly lucky to have the family & start in life that I did. This includes
emigrating to Aotearoa New Zealand when I was a baby, so that we could have a safer & more settled life. I feel so grateful & lucky
that I get to call Aotearoa home but was getting increasingly concerned about the growing gap in well-being between different groups of New
Zealanders. So, I wanted to put at least a bit of my good fortune - time & money - where my mouth is and do something to contribute toward
a different mindset.
There is so much about what GTT does that is beneficial to the practical & mental well-being of the people it involves. The practical skills being taught about how to grow/harvest/prepare food are obvious examples, but the sense of purpose/community & belonging it creates from doing - and sharing - these lessons as a group are also fantastic. I just love that GTT has such an immense 'ripple effect' in terms of the lessons and skills being transferred from schools into homes & communities. It makes my heart sing.
The lessons being taught about the relationship between food, nutrition & physical/emotional well-being are vital ones. And the impact it has on
kids wanting to cook, taste and eat such a wide range of fresh vegetables is phenomenal. There is a real sense of pride & achievement in the
children from completing tasks that have real and practical benefits.
One of my favorite memories was a gardening session we had when the older kids teach some of the wee-tinies (I think Year 2?) how to plant seedlings. The older kids took their responsibility so seriously, but were also so kind & patient, and the look of adoring attention in the eyes/faces of the younger kids made me grin like an idiot.
For me personally, being involved with GTT has also helped me enormously, and it is 100% true that I get more back than I give. When I started volunteering it got a few raised eyebrows from friends & family that GTT was the organisation I chose - because I am not known for either a love of gardening or children - but they sort of understood when I explained that was part of the appeal. That I wanted to widen my circle of understanding & experiences, because I felt like I was getting very stuck in my routine which included investing a lot of my time/thinking to corporate work. I was SO nervous the first time I went to the school, wanting to do it right & be useful as well as liked. It is definitely one of the best decisions I have made, the other adults I have met are all such good people, and the kids are inspirational. I'm missing them during lockdown that's for sure!"