Our local sunflower hero

Today’s DomPost features a lovely article about our local hero Julia, the Commonunity Project and Project Sunshine. You can see some of our sunflowers peeking through in the background already!

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Christmas Feast 2013: shiny on the inside!

This week we danced to the sweet tunes of MC Babysteppers, we dipped candles, we ate sweet food cooked by Rachel Priestley, and we face-painted and ate ice cream from CommonSense Organics. We celebrated our Christmas party in style with our hard-working little farmers at Epuni School!

Julia has written a ‘thank you’ list over on our Facebook page here, where you can also see more pictures from the day’s events.

Here are a few other photos from our AWESOME Christmas party:

Rachel Priestley from Prodigal Daughter prepared 25kg of potatoes, 10kg of pork, 16 chickens and fed everyone an incredible meal.

Jacqui and Sue, the green forest angels from CommonSense Organics in Lower Hutt, donated ice cream for each of the children. I’ve never seen ice cream disappear so quickly before!

Sue from SuperVery generously gave us all of these beautiful Winnie-the-Pooh badges that she offered as a koha in return for sunflower seeds. We handed them out to all of the Epuni School children as an early Christmas gift:

Our farmers had sunflowers and other beautiful motifs painted on their faces:

And they dipped candles and made stunning colourful Christmas gifts, which they could take home.

Our feast featured in the DomPost the next day too. Thanks again to everyone who helped make this day super special!

Wishing everyone a very sunshiney Christmas season – we’ll be back in the New Year with more sunflower updates, and hopefully lots more photos that show how everyone’s sunflowers are growing.

Koha in the mail this week

Julia has been saving up the mail, and handed me a beautiful bunch of letters and parcels this week.

Thank you Riccarton Primary School in Christchurch, Kelburn Playcentre in Wellington and Putiki Kindergarten in Whanganui for your lovely letters and seeds:

We received this beautiful letter from the tamariki o Nga Hau e Wha at Merivale Schoolย in Tauranga, as well as some kamokamo seeds and information about how to grow them. Kia ora – we can’t wait to plant these seeds!

And finally, thank you Mary Ann in Auckland for this amazing sunflowery apron! We think it’s seriously cool and so perfect for our little farmers. I bet there’ll be a race in the kitchen to see who gets to wear it first ๐Ÿ˜‰

What’s the buzz

Sunshine Day at the Dowse on Sunday was so much fun! We spread our blankets under John Reynolds’ Titoki Gallery and helped visitors make sunshine necklaces, turn milk bottles into watering cans and paint seed packets. Lots of people had their faces and arms painted, coloured in our ‘how sunflowers grow’ page and drew their own bee designs on Project Sunshine stickers – then took home seeds and seedlings for a gold coin donation. You can check out more photos from the day here.

We also launched our special limited edition packs of red sunflower seeds. Each packet contains 12 red sunflower seeds – these plants grow tall like the Giant Russian variety and range from deep red to beautiful rusty-coloured petals. We’re selling these for $3 a packet, so please get in touch if you’d like some.

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We love hearing from people with updates about how their seeds are growing. Sam from Giant Pumpkins NZ shared us this awesome photo, along with his beautiful 4-legged friend in the background:

Jennifer in the Bay of Plenty has just finished planting out her sunflower seedlings – 47 in total. They’re going to look amazing once they’re fully-grown and flowering!

Our friend Shane sent us an update on the sunflowers that the Epuni School children planted at Carrara Park in Newtown. He says “Sunflowers and swan plants growing in Carrara Park, Newtown, not all survived but the ones that have are looking strong…thanks Kids and Julia Milne”

And Catherine headed along to see how the plants in Glover Park were doing – they’re just outside Radio Active in Wellington:

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Hataitai School in Wellington has set up their own Emerald Army gardening blog, and are encouraging every child in the school to “bring in their own reused planting box to grow their sunflower seedlings in – the wackier the better”. Check out their blog to see some of the awesome planters that have been brought in so far!

Doubtless Bay Kindergarten

Doubtless Bay Kindergarten in Northland also emailed us their blog, to let us know that their “seeds are cosy in their planter box and we are patiently waiting and watering!”

Sunshine Day at the Dowse – Sunday 24 November 2013

Hello lovely sunshiney people!

Come and celebrate sunflowers, our communities and bees with us this Sunday. Our Sunshine Dayย is at the Dowse Art Museum in Lower Hutt from 10.00 – 11.30am.

Our Sunshine Mobile is stacked with sunflower seeds and seedlings, which will be available to take home for a gold coin donation – including our special limited edition ‘mystery seeds‘.

If you bring along an empty milk bottle, we’ll show you how to make it into a handy watering can. You can also make your own beautiful bee sticker, string together an awesome Project Sunshine necklace, colour in a sunflower page, chalk up the pavement and take part in other fun craft activities.

If the weather is lovely we will stay on longer outside under the trees with art activities, picnic blankets and maybe even some cake!

We’d love to see you on Sunday, so please come and say hi ๐Ÿ™‚

Sunshine awards at Epuni School

At Epuni School we’ve started the ‘Sunshine Awards’, to acknowledge the good things and deeds that are associated with Project Sunshine and to encourage our little farmers to look for the goodness in others.

These awards also recognise that everyone faces different challenges – what is easy for one person might be a struggle for someone else. By focusing on the goodness in people, we also hope to encourage a culture of understanding and tolerance.

This morning we created a ‘Sunshine Corner’ at Epuni School. A map of New Zealand covers one wall and will soon be covered in several hundred pins, to show all the places our seeds have been sent! Our Sunshine Mobile snuggles happily in the corner, and a mail board shows some of the beautiful letters that we’ve received from people all round the country. This sunshine corner is also the home of the Sunshine Awards.

The awards are led by the students: if they see an act of kindness, goodness or courage then they write the person’s name on a piece of paper, explaining why they think the person should receive an award, and then place the piece of paper in the sunshine awards box:

We then give out the sunshine awards during the ‘family time’ assembly on Monday morning. The awards are a special cardboard charm on a finger-knitted necklace.

Each award recipient can choose one hand-coloured charm to add to their necklace. The necklaces will have a range of charms added to them over time – each one becomes a living artwork, worn with pride by our little farmers.

We love capturing some of the goodness that radiates out from Project Sunshine and our Epuni children love their Sunshine Awards!