Giving 12 deserving kitchen gardens a kickstart

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

We love hearing the exciting ideas schools around the country have to grow and develop their kitchen gardens. But finding the funding to build those new planter boxes or create a sensory herb garden can delay the vision. Which is why the Foundation was delighted to partner with General Mills this year to give 12 deserving, under-resourced schools a Kickstart grant valued at $8,000 to put their plans into action.

At Karama Primary School in Darwin, the grant made it possible to build a native edible garden in the early childhood area. The school also purchased a dehydrator to cut down on food waste, which they are using to make delicious healthy snacks such as dried jackfruit, mango, banana chips, and Rosella tea. There are also plans to complete a yarning circle and a fire pit, as well as upgrading some old kitchen equipment.

On the Central Coast, Gorokan Public School used their Kickstart grant to refurbish their vegetable garden floor and build a greenhouse to grow seedlings in. They also constructed a secure tool shed and are planning on putting in a timed, overhead irrigation system to keep their garden looking lush over the long, hot summer break. Educators at Gorokan have reported all sorts of additional benefits from their kitchen garden including improved student wellbeing, a space to connect with community, and new opportunities to provide practical curriculum links to a whole range of subjects.

The Program has improved attendance, provided lessons that have engaged all kinds of learners, and delivered fun, practical, and cherished educational experiences. It has initiated conversations on sustainable living, exposed students to fruits, vegetables, herbs, and cooking experiences, and challenged the way students think about food. The school hopes to build on its successes, opening the school kitchen to the wider community, engaging our parents and carers to participate in kitchen/garden activities. –Kelly King, Kitchen Garden Teacher at Gorokan Public School

Students at Gorokan Public School proudly showing off their harvest

Getting shiny new tools and equipment is exciting, but it also takes a lot of planning and resources to set up and run a Kitchen Garden Program. Which is why the Kickstart grants also included a two-year membership and support package, to help schools run a successful program and make the absolute most of their kitchen garden experience.

This included one-on-one guidance from our expert Support Team, professional development training, a resources pack including kitchen garden syllabi, and a seasonal planner. As well as access to online tools such as Trellis, which guides schools through the process of implementing the Kitchen Garden Program step-by-step, and the Shared Table, our extensive resource library of monthly menus, garden tips, and produce guides. 

The online and printed resources have been a great addition to our resources for our elective cooking groups. The weekly emails are a great resource. We are looking forward to using the planting guide in Term 4, when we restock our vegetable garden. –Newling Public School, Armidale

Windsor South Public School were able to build a new garden bed with some of their grant money, ready for students to plant out as a fun, mindful activity when they returned from remote learning.

 

The General Mills Kickstart grants meant 2,254 students were able to get involved in the Kitchen Garden Program and benefit from our fun, hands-on approach to food education. They also made it possible to dish up 12,298 delicious school meals from May to September – a gigantic feat that ties in with General Mills’ goal to “expand access to and strengthen school meal programs globally to alleviate childhood hunger and reduce malnutrition so that children are well-nourished and ready to learn."

We were proud to support the 2021 Kickstart Grants program that allowed school communities to come together to build or improve school kitchen garden spaces; the program enabled over 2,000 Australian children to experience the enjoyment and benefits of kitchen gardens whilst providing food literacy skills. –Matt Salter, Managing Director, General Mills, ANZ

Another round of Kickstart grants will be announced in early 2022. Watch our newsletter for details.



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