The Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR) was established in 2000 to support the renewal of rural and regional communities in Australia through partnerships with the private sector, philanthropy and governments. In its first ten years, FRRR has managed the distribution of over $25 million in grants and provided substantial capacity building support to community organisations across the nation.
Why am I telling you this? Well, because the FRRR was generous enough to fund the purchase and delivery of a Jumbo Model Chicken Tractor and donate it to Bonshaw Public School – a school small enough that most drivers would not even recognise it as a school as they drove past. I tip my hat to the FRRR and to Ms Cecillia Elysee who applied for the grant on behalf of the school.
If you would like to know more about the wonderful work done by the FRRR, then please take a look at their website – www.frrr.org.au
The following article appeared on both the FRRR website and in the local newspaper!
“Kids at Bonshaw Public School have their permaculture program back on track thanks to support from FRRR’s Repair-Restore-Renew program. Bonshaw is a tiny village in rural NSW, almost 800km north of Sydney. When the nearby Dumaresq River flooded in 2011, the Bonshaw Public School suffered extensive damage from the flow of water – fences and veggie gardens were destroyed, and there was nothing but a concrete slab left where the students’ chook shed once stood.
Treasurer of the P&C Committee, Cecilia Elysee took on the task of coordinating the area’s rebuilding. Her successful application to FRRR’s Natural Disaster Recovery program enabled the purchase of a chicken tractor, which is “essentially a mobile chook pen with an open floor allowing the chickens to scratch, dig up seeds, eats weed and leave behind their natural fertiliser, whilst still being contained throughout the day.”
The chickens play an important role in the students’ permaculture program. Students can learn about caring for animals, reducing food waste, and gardening techniques. “Using chickens to scratch and dig garden beds prepares beds for crop rotation and their fresh eggs can be utilised in the school cooking program,” Mrs Elysee explained. And with a mobile chicken tractor – the chooks are likely to be in a much better position should floodwaters threaten the school once more. “