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An opportunity for real change
The Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation is a not-for-profit, health promotion charity addressing the incidence of childhood obesity. Not all Australian children eat well. A disturbing number go to school each day without breakfast. Nearly a third are overweight or obese. Poor food choices lead to poor health. The obesity epidemic is the public health issue of our time.
Almost as confronting is the cultural deprivation that comes with the loss of familial food experiences. In losing access to the shared table, children are deprived of a crucial centre point for family life and an opportunity to share, interact and try something new.
The good news is that children are as responsive to positive food experiences as they are to negative ones. And the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program provides limitless opportunities for positive experiences:
- A commitment to fresh, organic, seasonal food and pleasurable, hands-on food education
- The Program is now more affordable, flexible and attainable for all Australian schools with a primary curriculum
We know that the Kitchen Garden Program works! Years of anecdotal evidence supporting the Program's premise and a 2007-2009 academic evaluation, undertaken by a University of Melbourne and Deakin University research team, has given us hard evidence to validate this.
'Our evaluation confirms that participant students are much more likely
to try new foods, develop real skills, work together cooperatively,
and that the project itself engages the school communities to a degree
that surprises some of the principals.'
Benefits for children
Kitchen Garden Kids...
- Love cooking and gardening
- Cook and eat new foods on a regular basis
- Significantly increase their knowledge, confidence and skills in gardening and cooking
- Build self-esteem and trust through experience-based gardening and cooking activities
- Benefit from a non-academic learning environment
- Experience new foods, flavours and textures
- Extend literacy and numeracy learnings into the garden and the kitchen
- Enjoy physical activity
- Learn to cooperate
- Develop social skills
- Learn about different cultures and traditions
- Build strong relationships with adult role models, such as teachers, specialists and volunteers
- Develop a practical understanding of environmental sustainability
- Gain a working knowledge of the relationship between garden and table
Benefits for schools
Kitchen Garden Schools...
- Achieve learning outcomes across the curriculum, using an innovative, hands-on education model
- Provide an alternative learning environment for ‘non-academic learners’ and kids with challenging behaviours
- Are recognised as valuable contributors to educational innovation
- Create a point of engagement and excitement for the school community
- Create closer links with local communities and build community pride
- Build valuable facilities which can be used for community purposes, before and after school care and special celebrations, and even hired out for extra income
- Generate close to $2 in additional resources for every $1 of government funding invested in the Program
- Attract new families and increase enrolment
- Have access to valuable Kitchen Garden Program educational resources, support, advice and staff training
Benefits for families
Kitchen Garden Families...
- Enjoy new opportunities to grow, cook and eat food together
- Bring enthusiasm and learning from the Kitchen Garden Program home
- Make more meaningful connections with their school, community and environment
Benefits for communities
Kitchen Garden Communities...
- Build internal and external networks through Kitchen Garden Program development, implementation and maintenance
- Connect diverse people with common interests through working bees, fundraising, in-kind support, volunteering and more
- Promote wider participation in the school and local community