Always extend the olive branch

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Students at St Peter’s School, Clayton, with their harvested olives.29 August 2019

Students at St Peter’s School, Clayton, have been working with their community to harvest a bumper crop of home-grown olives.

Spending their lunchtimes tending to the school’s garden and orchard, the students have been overwhelmed by the harvest and have been sharing the crop with friends of the school. The olives are either air-dried or bottled in vinegar or oil and presented as gifts from the school community.

Parents and grandparents have also been involved in caring for the plants and processing the fruit. ‘Clayton is one of Australia’s most culturally diverse communities, and food is one of the ways we can learn more about each other’, said the school’s Deputy Principal and Wellbeing Leader Nerissa Kinnaird. ‘Growing our own olives teaches our students about what goes into creating the food on our plates and gives them the chance to experience other cultures through food.’

The students have designed a label for the olives to reflect the importance of friendship and community. ‘Our school is like a family, and we have all come from around the world to call this school our home’, said one of the students. ‘What we have in common is this school and the friends in it, so that is why the phrase always extend the branch of friendship is important to us.’

Grandmother ‘nonna’ Catarina, with the support of other parents and grandparents at the school, has been instrumental in harvesting and preparing the olives. With her children having attended the school and two sets of grandchildren currently attending, Catarina has a long association with St Peter’s School.