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The royal couple meets Stephanie, students and staff at Kilkenny Primary School

Their Royal Highnesses, Charles, The Prince of Wales and Camilla, The Duchess of Cornwall have honoured the staff and students of Kilkenny Primary School (South Australia), as well as Stephanie, with a visit during their tour of Australia, Papua New Guinea and New Zealand.

Stephanie and the Kilkenny PS staff and students met the royal couple during their visit to Adelaide on a beautiful day of glorious sunshine and gentle breeze. The Kilkenny PS garden was bursting with fresh organic produce, and the students were similarly bursting with pride, as the royal couple met and were guided through the garden and beds by students and Principal Mike Tate.

Students Chelsea Veprek and Jerome Trimboli took over the tour of the orchard area, showing the royal party the hothouse, chookhouse, worm farm and composting area. The royal couple asked the children plenty of questions, such as whether the chooks were producing (yes, about five or six eggs per day), what their favourite vegetables are (Jerome said carrots) and how they dealt with the black aphids on the citrus (Chelsea explained they make sure there are plenty of good bugs to eat the bad bugs). Both children were very well-spoken and wonderful representatives of their school.

The Royal couple were clearly impressed by the garden, asking plenty of questions of the children and commenting on how healthy it looked. When Principal Tate took over from the students Prince Charles asked him all about how the Kitchen Garden Program works, including how long the kitchen and garden classes are, what the students learn and all the benefits they gain. Principal Tate explained they focus on taste, texture, colour and trying new things, but they don’t necessarily focus on ‘healthy’ food as what they harvest from the garden will be always be healthy!

The school’s very special guests eventually made their way to the kitchen, where students, along with Stephanie, were putting the finishing touches to the meal. The royal menu included:

  • Broccoli & kale fritters with a yoghurt dip
  • Lettuce salad with an egg & parsley dressing
  • Broad bean, fennel & leek risotto
  • Spinach, cheese & rosemary pizza (baked in the school’s brand-new pizza oven)
  • Silverbeet & potato pasties.

The children were brilliantly organised, serving up the beautiful dishes with grace and flair. After they had watched and talked to the children cooking at each of the five bays, Stephanie greeted Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla, who were very complimentary about the Kitchen Garden Program. Stephanie says:
‘He asked me whether the children eat the food. I said yes – if they have grown it and cooked it, they are very motivated to eat it. They seemed to understand completely. I said the magic ingredient is having fun, and that the Program is now in 267 Australian schools. Prince Charles thought the whole thing was marvellous and was keen to see it expanded.’

The party then moved onto the outdoor deck of the dining room where they sat under a shade to enjoy the dishes the students brought out. The royal couple both loved the risotto: ‘frightfully good’ said Prince Charles, while Duchess Camilla said ‘That’s the best risotto I’ve ever had! I’d like to stay here all afternoon.’ They chatted with all the children at the tables before it was suggested they’d need to leave for their next appointment. ‘I’d like to finish my food first!’ said Prince Charles.

They were nevertheless whisked away, to another function where they were to meet the Kitchen Garden Program Ambassador in South Australia, Maggie Beer, who had officially launched the Kitchen Garden Program at Kilkenny PS in 2007.

The Foundation would like to express our sincere gratitude to Kilkenny PS for being such a wonderful advocate of the Program, and hosting the special visitors with such enthusiasm and poise. 

With the theme of ‘Service to the community’ – the central theme of The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations – the Prince and The Duchess met with an array of people who contribute to their community. The Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program and Kilkenny PS were put forward by Australian Government representatives who organised the Royal Highnesses’ program.

We were also very pleased to be able to hand over a folder of Kitchen Garden Program material to the Private Secretary for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs Clive Alderton – this included the Kilkenny PS recipe book as well as DVD about the Program that you can view here.

(Thanks to Shareef, a student from Kilkenny PS, for many of the photos you see here!)

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