This story was written by Jarrahdale Primary School’s Garden Specialist and Sustainability Coordinator, Stacey Smithers, about the fabulous Harvest Bounty restaurant they held recently.
Jarrahdale Primary School, in Western Australia, held its inaugural Harvest Bounty Restaurant event on Friday, 4 August.
The restaurant was run as a whole-school activity that focussed on the organisational, cooking and customer service skills of our students. It was designed to showcase the culinary skills of our senior class who have participated in the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program for all of their primary school years, from kindergarten to Year 6. The Program teaches students to grow, harvest, prepare and share their own food from scratch, and includes weekly cooking and gardening classes.
The restaurant was also part of a pilot project to facilitate our learning in ‘sociocracy’ – or consent decision-making. During the restaurant planning phases, students learnt how to form proposals and obtain consent for proposals from every member of a working group to which they belonged. Unlike majority rules decision-making processes, sociocracy includes everyone’s voices, and consensus must be reached for proposals to be adopted.
Students spent many hours actively planning the menu using the seasonal harvest from our school garden, making restaurant decorations, ticketing, seating arrangements and budgeting. Before the event they practised recipes, made tickets, wrote sponsorship letters, worked out logistics and finances, and researched possible ways to decorate our large undercover area.
Year 6 students took the lead at being wait staff, while Year 4 and 5 students acted as kitchen hands, busboys or washing-up staff. Year 2 and 3 students designed and implemented the table and place settings, while the pre-primary students designed and made tickets. Year 1 students created, and coloured in, individual menus for each patron.
On the night, 60 members of our school community were treated to a gala three-course meal that included kumara soup, beetroot and spinach tart, and apple crumble. The school’s undercover area was transformed into a Harvest Bounty space, decorated with straw bales, harvested produce, tools and flower arrangements. A small group of students also managed a ‘little kids’ area, so parents could eat in peace!
Patrons of our restaurant were blown away by the quality of the food and service and were impressed that the students had planned the whole thing from start to finish. Many reported that it was one of the best nights out they had had in Jarrahdale in ages, and many wanted to put their name on the guest list for next year’s event.
Jarrahdale Primary Principal, Julie Denholm, said she was impressed with the way the students had both organised and undertaken the activities involved in running the restaurant.
“It was great to see the kids all actively involved in the restaurant decision-making processes, and fantastic to see the way they stepped up on the night. The food, too, was delicious, as always,” Julie said
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