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The role of the Garden to Table Trust is to provide skills, support and inspiration to schools to assist them in implementing and delivering timetabled gardening and cooking classes within the school. Operating with a small, dedicated team, we are a not-for-profit, charitable organisation that relies on the generosity, shared vision and commitment of schools, volunteers, philanthropic organisations, business and individuals.

Volunteers can help at a number of levels - from time to time volunteers can assist us with the day to day tasks essential for keeping the Trust running smoothly; occasionally we have 'working bee' opportunities involving development of gardens, or kitchens in schools; and importantly our schools need regular volunteers to guide students during the garden and kitchen classes. If you would like to volunteer contact us. Your interest is greatly appreciated.

Our schools need you

School volunteers are vital to the Trust's goal of making the Garden to Table philosophy accessible to every child in New Zealand.

Garden to Table Schools rely on regular and dedicated volunteers to guide students in kitchen and garden classes. They are a much-valued and essential part of every school's Garden to Table team. Volunteers come from varied backgrounds and bring with them diverse interests, talents and skill-sets. The school staff and the students learn a lot from their volunteers, welcome their input and are grateful for their time and energy.

You don't need special skills or qualifications to be a garden or kitchen volunteer, just a passion for cooking or gardening (or both!) and a willingness to engage children in learning about food in a pleasurable way. You would be working closely with small groups of children to answer questions, encourage, monitor, and oversee activities while keeping the children on track to finish the kitchen or garden task they're working on, under the guidance of the Garden or Kitchen Specialist.

If you would like to volunteer with a Garden to Table School please look for a school near you and contact them directly regarding any current opportunities. They will be very pleased to welcome you to the Garden to Table community!

Author Sherry Anderson encapsulates the value of volunteers beautifully: "Volunteers don't get paid, not because they're worthless, but because they're priceless." This of course is true of our volunteers, as the gift of their time works to support children in learning vital life skillsin fun hands-on lessons.

The Garden to Table programme (GTT) is great way to have people from your community involved in your school - everyone benefits from the help and expertise people from all walks of life bring to the table… and garden!

Who can volunteer?

Volunteers can be parents, caregivers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, next door neighbours, students or retirees - anyone from within the school or local community who is keen to contribute their time and enthusiasm. And volunteers need no special skills other than an interest in the Garden to Table philosophy and working with children.

We have had the pleasure of hearing back from many of our GTT volunteers who have expressed real enjoyment about the time spent in the kitchen or garden, finding this time both rewarding and instructive.

"As a 'Grandma helper' I find this program is really constructive for the children in so many ways. They always arrive keen to work and do have fun while learning. It reinforces listening skills and teamwork along with consideration for others and using good manners! It is remarkable how efficiently even the less obviously fun jobs like cleaning up, or taking scraps to the compost get done.

I love the way the children respond and interact with teachers, helpers and each other and their enthusiasm to try doing new things."

~ Rae, Volunteer at Meadowbank School

"Working as a volunteer for GTT at Cannons Creek School is an absolute pleasure. I like the structure of the programme as you are actively involved with the children for the morning. Being in the garden is fun. For many, vegetable gardening is a new experience as they learn the names of plants and begin to learn the techniques of a successful gardener.

Often at the beginning of the session the supervisor walks around with the children discussing the changes in the garden before going into small groups which keeps them engaged in an activity, working with the support of a volunteer."

~ Helen, Volunteer at Cannons Creek School