Dole New Zealand is excited to announce a very special sponsorship with Oke - a local charity providing Kiwi kids with the opportunity to learn life and social skills by introducing productive fruit and vegetable gardens in schools. Through its ‘Growing a Future’ initiative, Oke builds gardens at South Auckland primary and intermediate schools – enabling the kids, teachers and local community to grow healthy, sustainable fruit and veges.

Outdoor classrooms

Described as ‘outdoor classrooms,’ the gardens empower these children and their wider communities to foster essential life skills, such as increased levels of self-esteem and a healthy, positive outlook for the future.

Founded in 2015, Oke Chief Go Getter (Founder) Paul Dickson originally planned to gift schools garden beds, however quickly realised a lot more tools were required to make these gardens a sustainable, ongoing prospect. The charity now provides schools with raised beds, a greenhouse, composting solutions, kid’s tools, irrigation and other essential resources; along with the education required to maintain them.  Oke is currently developing an app to support learning in the outdoor classrooms, this will ready in November.

Working bee

Using sponsor financial donations and voluntary labour at planting days, Oke has built gardens at 12 primary schools to date, giving over 6,000 kids from Papatoetoe, Otara, Manurewa, Weymouth and Wattle Downs a school garden to get growing. 

As part of the Dole Promise, Dole New Zealand is committed to sustainable nutrition by providing fruit and vegetable gardens for children and their communities.

With the help of Dole, Oke plans to continue implementing their ‘Growing A Future’ initiative into primary and intermediate schools across South Auckland. By giving more schools the opportunity to learn life and social skills through gardening, young kids learn how to provide for themselves and their families, gain hands-on skills that may influencer a potential career, learn the financial skills of turning produce into profit, and ultimately provide a better place for everyone.

To kick off our partnership, we spent the day at Papatoetoe Intermediate getting hands on for an Oke working bee with a wonderful bunch of students and special guests - the Warriors! To learn more about this incredible charity and watch what we captured on the day, check out the video here.