Developing a positive relationship with good, healthy food starts with the lessons you learn as a child. Whether it’s through school programs or patterns and behaviours established at home, encouraging a love for eating well is one of the best gifts you can give a child, setting them up for a lifetime of better health.
We chatted to students, teachers and parents from various Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Schools around Australia about their experiences with the program. Here are some of the stories we heard.
“I’ve had the best two days of my life. Yesterday I had a great time at garden and today I had a terrific time at kitchen. At garden we made a terrific little fence made out of bamboo. My job was to hammer them down with a mallet. Then I and a couple of friends raked all of the leaves into a big pile. Then we put them in a wheelbarrow. It was a pretty hard job.
“Today we went to kitchen, it was great. We prepared lovely Kalabasang May Gato. It comes from Vietnam. It had pumpkin, shrimp paste, onion, coconut milk and some eggplant. We cooked the onion, eggplant and pumpkin together for about ten minutes. After that we set the table and started to eat. It was fantastic, scrumptious and delicious all at the same time. I would definitely give it 10 out of 10. Or even more if you could go that high.”
– Noah, student at Osborne Primary School, VIC
“The impact of this program on my two ‘fussy eaters’ has been quite remarkable. The benefits of learning about the whole food cycle (particularly important for us as we live in a townhouse without a proper garden) of how food grows and is harvested has really engaged them and they are much more tuned into this than their cousins (at schools with no kitchen garden program).
"They are now willing to be a lot more adventurous with trying new foods, and have even got to the point of thinking SOME veggies can be yummy – unthinkable prior to their involvement in the program. I also think it is great how the whole class group is involved, as seeing how their peers are really willing to have a go has really helped get my kids to be much more understanding of and adventurous with food."
– Maria, parent at Majura Primary School, ACT
“Kin Kin State School whole-heartedly believes that by creating a learning environment that develops sustainable living practices for self, place and others we will achieve our vision – nurturing citizens for today and tomorrow.
"We also know that crafting and executing a teaching and learning process that encompasses real-life situations enables our students to be productive citizens locally and globally. The Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program is an integral factor influencing the achievement of our vision."
–Trent Shaw, Principal of Kin Kin State School, QLD
Find out more about the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program at kitchengardenfoundation.org.au