A group of Daylesford College students last week celebrated the launch of a cutting-edge gardening program.

Mow2Grow is a Central Highlands Rural Health Population Health initiative in partnership with the college that aims to promote student self-esteem, confidence, and emotional intelligence and improve their overall mental well-being through hands-on learning outside the classroom.

The Year 9 and 10 students will also contribute to community recovery efforts following severe weather events across the region last year, assisting residents in cleaning up private property and public and community spaces.

Over the next 8 weeks, the Mow2Grow students will be engaged in a range of immersive activities, including mowing, the safe use of power tools, and general gardening skills.

Population Health Manager and Mow2Grow program manager Taletha Rizio said the students would develop industry skills and gain a better understanding of ecological systems, farming and forest management, and vegetable and fruit growing.

“Students will also learn about local food relief services, environmental sustainability, and future employment opportunities,” she said.

“We work closely with teachers and mentors throughout the program to ensure students engage with this industry-based education experience.”

Mow2Grow has been modelled on the successful ‘The Cook, The Chef and Us’ food and hospitality program, which is also run at Daylesford College and is now in its fifth year.

Mow2Grow is jointly funded by the Australian and Victorian Governments under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.